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James Carson Breckinridge 





Kenneth W. Condit 

Gerald Diamond 
Edwin T. Turnbladh 

i Z%Z- »*- 



WASHINGTON, D. C. , 1956 


This study of Marine Corps ground training in World War 
II has been prepared by the Historical Branch., G-3 Division, 
Headquarters U, S, Marine Corps, at the direction of the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. Beginning with President 
Roosevelt's declaration of a limited national emergency on 
8 September 1939, it covers the training activities in both 
the short~of=war period and during the war itself. 

The authors have examined all available records pertaining 
to training during the World War II period,, They have also 
made an extensive circulation of chapter drafts to key 
participants, From these two sources a great deal of valuable 
information has been obtained, but gaps which were discovered 
in the written record could not be entirely closed by the 
comments in response to circulated drafts, Only the records 
of Headquarters Marine Corps and of Marine Corps Schools were 
available » For information concerning the training activities 
of other establishments, the authors have had to rely on 
copies of correspondence in the files of Headquarters Marine 

In view of these deficiencies, it was realized that a 
truly comprehensive history of Marine Corps ground training 
could not be written. It was decided instead to prepare this 
group of studies, covering those phases of training for which 
there is sufficient documentation to assure reasonably complete 
and accurate treatment, 

It is believed that the experience recorded here will b< 
of value to those in the Marine Corps who are charged with 
planning for training in the event of a future national 


Major General, U, S, Marine Corps 

Assistant Chief of Staff, G=3 


Preface i 


8 SEPTEMBER 1939 to 7 DECEMBER 1941 

1. The Short of War Period 1 

2. Recruit Training 9 

3. Enlisted Specialist Training 32 

4. Basic Officer Training 57 

5. v. Officer Advanced and Specialist Training 86 

6. Training in Non-FMF Units 100 

7. Training in the PMP 108 


7 DECEMBER 194l TO 14 AUGUST 1945 

8. The War Period - Introduction 155 

9. Recruit Training 158 

10. The Training of Infantry Replacements 176 

11. Enlisted Specialist Training 196 

12. Basic Officer Training 225 

13. Officer Specialist Training 248 

14. Command and Staff Training 278 

15. College Training Program 288 

16. Officer Indoctrination 317 

17. Conclusions 340 
Bibliography 343 
Distribution List 352 




Chapter 1 

World War II was two years and three months old be- 
fore the United States formally entered the struggle 
against the Axis Powers. But the declarations of war 
did not project the nation directly from a state of iso- 
lation and indifference into active belligerency. For 
the United States had been gradually drawn deeper and 
deeper into "short-of-war" operations in support of 
Britain since the beginning of hostilities in Europe in 
1939. As the rising tide of Nazi aggression inundated 
more and more of the Old World and sent out waves to lap 
at the shores of the New, Americans gradually awakened 
to their peril. They took the first steps toward 
rearmament . 

In the fall of 1939 the United States armed forces 
were not even adequate for the defense of the western 
hemisphere. The outbreak of war in Europe did little 
to arouse the American people to the need for rearmament, 
and the lull in operations during the winter of 1939-^0 

(l) For a detailed treatment of the "short-of-war" period, 
see Samuel E. Morison, History of United States Naval 
Operations in World War~IT! Vol. I, The Battle of the 
Atlantic 7~and Vol. Ill, Rising Sun ln~ tnV~Paclfic (Boston: 
Little, Brown and Company, 19^7 and lg 1 ?^!; William L. 
Langer and S. Everett Gleason, The Undeclared War (New 
York: Harper and Brothers, 195377 and Stetson Conn and 
Byron Fairchild, "The Framework of Hemisphere Defense" 
(MS in Office of the Chief of Military History, to be 
included in The United States Army in World War II) . 

seemed to Justify the popular attitude . It was not until 
the Oermans overran Denmark, Norway, the Low Countries, 
and France, in the spring of 1940 that Americans were 
Jolted from their complacency. They saw the buffer of 
French land power and British sea power which had insu- 
lated them from Europe crumbling before their eyes. 

It was clear that the United States would have to 
replaes the buffer with its own military strength. During 
the summer and fall of 1940, Congress stepped up the pro- 
curement of aircraft, launched the two-ocean navy building 
program, called reserves to active duty, and passed the 
selective service act. To gain time for the mobilization 
of industry and manpower, the administration came to the 
aid of the British by trading 50 overage destroyers for 
the lease of bases on British possessions and by the 
passage of the lend-lease act. 

The fall of France also raised the possibility that 
her possessions in the New World would fall into German 
hands . Diplomatic negotiations were successful in neu- 
tralizing these territories, but the administration con- 
sidered the situation so serious that it alerted an expe- 
ditionary force to seize Martinique, the most important 
of the Fren©fe possessions in the West Indies, 

During the winter and spring of 194l, the Nazi tide 
surged even higher, German armies overran Yugoslavia 
and Greece, With the aid of the Italians, who had en- 
tered the war after fcfee fall of France, they drove the 


British across Libya in full retreat towards the Egyptian 
frontier c In the Atlantic, submarine wolf packs took an 
ever iacraasing toll of merchant shipping, extending 
their activities farther and farther into western hemi- 
•$%er* waters c To President Roosevelt, the danger of 
Wazi attack upon the western hemisphere was very real. 
In May, he warned that the United States would resist by 
force any German attempt to occupy bases which threatened 
the security of the Americas . An expeditionary force was 
organized to occupy the Azores, but it was diverted at 
the last moment to Iceland., 

The occupation of Iceland, an important covering 
position on the Atlantic convoy route, resulted in the 
United States taking a long step closer to actual war 
with Germany o British merchant ships were permitted to 
join Iceland supply convoys escorted by the U S e Navy. 
And on 4 September the inevitable happened when a German 
U-boat fired on an American destroyer . From then on, 
the United States was engaged in a de facto naval war 
with Germany in the Atlantic 

During these fateful days, American statesmen and 
military leaders could not avoid the fact that the dan- 
gers confronting their country were world-wide Asia, 
as well as Europe, was in turmoil. Since 1937, Japan had 
been engaged in an undeclared war against Nationalist 
China and had been, with increasing effrontery, chal- 
lenging the Par East position of the United States and 
of the European colonial powers. 


Underlying the Japanese policy of aggression was the 
determination of the ultra-nationalist army group to carve 
out a larger empire for Japan in East Asia. By the sum- 
mer of 1940, the militarists were firmly in control of 
the government . In August, they wrested from a defeated 
France the right to occupy Indo-China. Then, on 27 Sep- 
tember, they concluded a nonaggression pact with Germany 
and Japan Thus the two danger areas were tied together, 
and American leaders were faced with the danger of con- 
certed action in Europe and Asia„ 

The Nazi danger was considered to be the more seri- 
ous, so the priority for whatever measures the United 
States was able to take were directed against Germany 
and Italy . In the Pacific , the policy arrived at in the 
fall of 19^0 was to stave off hostilities with Japan as 
long as possible and to avoid any extensive military com- 
mitments which would tie down the neager American forces 
in a theater considered of secondary importance. In re- 
sponse to the tripartite pact, President Roosevelt di- 
rected that the U. S s Fleet be based at Pearl Harbor, 
ordered an embargo on the shipment of oil, iron and steel 
scrap to Japan, and sent small reinforcements to the 
Philippines and other of our Pacific possessions. 

Far from being deterred, the Japanese determined to 
take whatever measures they considered necessary to 
achieve their goals . Failing in a last diplomatic effort, 

they turned to military means. On 7 December , the at- 
tack on Pearl Harbor ended the short -of -war period and 
brought the United States into World War II as a full 

The Marine Corps had played a vital role in the 
events of the past 27 months. In both the Martinique 
and Azores operation plans , Marines were designated as 
the landing force. They constituted the first American 
garrison in Iceland, and stood guard at the Pacific out- 
posts at Palmyra, Johnston, Midway, Wake, and Guam islands. 

At the beginning of the short-of-war period, however, 
the Marine Corps was far from ready to carry out the com- 
mitments it would soon be called upon to assume. Total 
strength was only 18,070 officers and men. On 8 September 
1939 President Roosevelt, sensing the popular sentiment 
against rearmament, authorized an initial increase of 
only 6,000, bringing the total authorized strength to 
25,000. The Marine Corps achieved this figure by the as- 
signed target date of 30 June 1940 only to be confronted 
with the necessity of a further increase. Under the mobi- 
lization program resulting from the crisis precipitated 
by the fall of Prance, the Marine Corps was authorized a 
strength of 45,758 for the fiscal year 194 1 and a further 
increase to 79,290 for the following fiscal year. 

Supplementing the additions to the regular Marine 
Corps, was the mobilization of the Marine Corps Reserve, 

additional 15,927 to the active duty 
rolls. On 15 October 1940, general mobilization orders 
sued to ail reserve battalions. Ten days lat •. 
the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, composed of enlisted men 
honorably discharged after 3.6 or more years of service, 
was called back to the colors. The volunteer reserve, 
which included reservists not belonging to organized 
units, was ordered up in two groups, the first on 14 
December 1940, and the second on 12 May 194l. These re- 
servists, combined with regulars, gave the Marine Corps 

a total strength of 66,319 on 7 December 194l. 

J The Marine Corps faced an expansion program ulti- 
mately calling for a 325$ increase in size with few 
specific plans for the training of the additional person- 
nel. It was necessary to improvise training procedures 
under the pressure of mobilization and to improve them 
by trial and error in order to achieve the goal of pre- 
paredness for amphibious operations. 

Since the turn of the century, Marines had shown an 
increasing interest in amphibious warfare.^ In 1927, the 
Marine Corps was assigned this subject as its primary 

(2) Figures from Annual Reports of the Commandant to the 
Secretary of the Navy, fiscal years 1939-41, hereinafter 
cited as CMC Rpts, 

(3) See Jeter A, Isely and Philip A. Crowl, The U. S.' 
^ r i£?Ji and Amphibious War (Princeton, N. ' J. : Princeton 
Universi^y~Press, 1951), 14-71, for an excellent account 
of these developments. Hereinafter cited as U. S. Marines 
and Amphibious War. " ~ 

mission, but it was not until 1933 that it could concen- 
trate on amphibious preparation. Before that date, the 
Marine Corps had been committed to "police" actions in 
China and the Caribbean, and, with many senior officers 
still under the influence of trench warfare it was not 
unanimous in support of the new doctrine. The Navy, 
whose cooperation was necessary for amphibious exercises, 
was busy preparing for surface fleet actions - a la 

The turning point in amphibious development came in 
1933 with the creation of the Fleet Marine Force. Organ- 
ized as a component of the fleet, its training became a 
matter of direct concern to the Navy. The Marine Corps 
was also in a better position to push amphibious pre- 
paredness, for the decision to recommend formation of the 
FMF followed the triumph of the amphibious -minded element 
within the Corps. In addition, with the withdrawal of 
the last Marines from Nicaragua in 1932 and from Haiti 
in 193^* the Marine Corps was no longer distracted from 
its amphibious mission by other commitments, Thus from 
1933 to 1939 » both Navy and Marine Corps prepared for 
amphibious warfare with a new seriousness of purpose. 

Although the Marine Corps had accumulated consider- 
able experience in amphibious training during these six 
years, the great expansion that occurred after 1939 
created new problems inherent in the preparation of the 

vastly larger amphibious forces for combat. The short- 
of-war period furnished the Marine Corps an opportunity 
to seek solutions to some of these training problems. 
Considerable progress was made towards their solution, 
so that the Marine Corps did not have to start "cold" 
when war was declared. The solution to training prob- 
lems, the way these solutions were reached, and their 
success or failure are discussed in the chapters that 

Chapter 2 

Peacetime Training 

The foundation for all enlisted training in the 
Marine Corps on the eve of World War II was an eight- 
week period of rigorous training for all recruits. 
Every man entering the Marine Corps went first to one 
of the two recruit depots: Parris Island, South 
Carolina, or San Diego, California. Here he was intro- 
duced to the fundamentals of military life. He learned 
discipline, military courtesy, close order drill, and 
interior guard duty. He was given thorough physical 
conditioning to prepare him for the rigors of combat. 
He became intimately familiar with his rifle, mastering 
its mechanical functioning and firing it for record on 
the range. And he received elementary instruction in 
infantry combat subjects, including the digging of fox- 
holes, bayonet, grenades, chemical warfare, map reading, 
and basic squad combat principles. 

The central recruit depot system, in which veteran 
officers and noncommissioned officers devoted all their 
energies to turning civilians into Marines, was thoroughly 
entrenched in the Marine Corps by 1939. Since 1911* when 
the Commandant, realizing that the old system of sending 
recruits to the nearest Marine barracks for training 
frequently resulted in inadequate instruction, directed 

the concentration of recruit training in organizations 
specifically created for this purpose, all new Marines 
had received their initial instruction in one of the 
recruit depots. 

The new system proved itself during World War I, 
when the Marine Corps expanded from about 15,000 to over 
70,000 in a year and a half. In the years following the 
Armistice, recruit training procedures were brought to a 
high peak of efficiency. It was, therefore, no new and 
untried training system with which the Marine Corps 
entered the critical years of World War II. 

Fall*1939s The Initial Expansion 
* President Roosevelt authorized an enlisted strength 
of 25,000 for the Marine Corps on 8 September 1939. The 
same day, the Commandant, hoping to achieve the newly 
authorized strength as rapidly as possible, sent dis- 
patches to all recruiting divisions, lifting recruiting 
quotas until further notice. By February 19^0, the goal 
had been reached. In five months, 7,000 new Marines had 
joined the Corps. By comparison, the total recruiting 
effort for the previous year had only been 5,86l.^ 

So rapid a build up naturally placed a heavy strain 
on training facilities. To meet the goal, a drastic 
reduction in the length of the recruit training cycle 
was necessary. The eight weeks formerly allotted to the 

(1) MarCorps dispatches to MarRecruit, Chicago, Phila- 
delphia, San Francisco, and New Orleans, all 8Sep39, 
1535-1^0. Unless otherwise noted, all documents are in 
General Files HQMC. 


conversion of civilians into Marines was cut in half, so 
that new Marines entering the service during the first 
five months of the short-of-war period received only four 
weeks of recruit training. 

Headquarters Marine Corps, foreseeing just such an 
emergency, had already prepared a four-week schedule. 
The Commandant had initiated action on a reduced program 
on 1 June 1939. On that date, he directed the command jng 
officers of the recruit depots to prepare emergency 
training schedules of only three weeks duration. Includec 
in his directive, was a general outline for the shorten-*, 
training schedule, calling for two weeks indoctrination 
and basic instruction in the school of the soldier, foi^ 
lowed by a third week of weapons training. Care and use 
of rifle and pistol, instruction in grenades, hand and 
rifle, and, whenever practical, instruction or demon- 
stration of other infantry weapons were to be included 
in the final week. Of necessity, the short course was 

intensive. Accordingly, every day, including Sunday, was 

a work day. 

Working within this framework, the staffs of the 

recruit depots prepared new training schedules. By 5 Jun 

Headquarters Base Troops, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, 

(2) CMC ltr to CG MB PI and CG MCB SD, Uun39, 1975- 


forwarded their proposals to Washington. Recruit Depot 
Parris Island, followed suit on 22 July.^ 

Three Weeks Training, Recruit Depot 


Schedule Parris Island 






71 , 







Tenting, First Aid, Hygiene, 

Marches, Scouting and Patrolling, 




BAR, rifle grenade, grenade, 

mortar, ,45-cal. pistol, 

.30-cal. rifle, etc 

(*) Of necessity, an estimate; available records do 

not include a complete breakdown of the number of 

hours devoted to each subject, and often, training 

hours are not listed under the appropriate 


The total number of training hours was 199 

; the above 

chart accounts for 19l| of the total. 

From the outset, Colonel Miles R. Thacher, Command- 
ing Officer, Base Troops, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, 
objected to the shortened course. He recommended con- 
tinuing the eight week schedule in the event of war or 
emergency . Three weeks, in his view, were too short to 
give the necessary instruction. The longer course, on 
the other hand, provided enough time to give thorough 

instruction in military basics and the care and use of 

f3l CG BaseTrps MCB SD ltr to CMC, 5Jun39, 1975-60-20- 

10. CG MB PI ltr to CMC, 22Jul39, 1975-70. 

(4) CO BaseTrps MCB SD ltr to CMC, 5Jun39, 1975-60-20- 

10. Parris Island submitted no recommendations. 


Having had an opportunity to study the proposed 
emergency three weeks schedules and Colonel Thacher's 
recommendation, the Commandant modified his original 
program but did not accept the Colonel's recommendation, 
in toto. He requested that the recruit depots prepare 
new reduced schedules immediately. The Commandant 
granted the depots "the greatest discretion and 
initiative..." in drawing up the new schedules, with 
the following conditions: set aside Sunday for rest and 
recreation; increase the period of range instruction to 
nine days; add a fourth training week, scheduled after 
the firing on the range. ^ 

These instructions were issued on 5 September. 
The depots began at once to draw up the new schedules, 
and not a moment too soon. Only three days later, 
President Roosevelt issued his declaration of limited 
national emergency, and the next day General Holcomb 
ordered the four week schedule into effect. His pur- 
pose was to achieve the build-up to the newly authorized 
25,000 enlisted strength as rapidly as possible. 

5) CMC ltr to CG's, MB PI and MCB SD, 5Sep39, 1975- 

6) CMC ltr to CG's, MB PI and MCB SD, 9Sep39, 1975- 
0-20. Although effected immediately, the training 

schedules did not reach Headquarters until 15 September • 
(CG MB PI ltr to CMC, 15Sep39, 1975-70) and 30 September 
(CG MCB SD ltr to CMC, 30Sep39, 1975-60). 


Pour Weeks Training^ 

Recruit Depot, 

Schedule : 

Parris Island. 




Indoctrination and Military Courtesy- 


Bayonet Training 




Interior Guard 


Field Training 


Including? First Aid, 

Hygiene, Combat Exercises, 

Tenting, Scouting and 

Patrolling, etc. 



Rifle Range Period 


(*) Of course, this sample 

doesn't account 

for total 

hours; administrative, clothes issue, physical 


ing, etc., are not included. 

The effort to achieve quantity output by reducing 
training time resulted in a drastic decline in the quality 
of the finished product. Within a month after the four 
week schedule was put into effect, Brigadier General 
Edward A. Ostermann, the Adjutant and Inspector, reported 
a decline in rifle range qualifications of as much as 
25 per cent. 

Parris Island's percentage of qualified riflemen 
dropped from 48 to a low of 25; San Diego reported a drop 
of 25 per cent from a high of 92 to 67 J 

(7) Adjutant and Inspector (hereinafter cited as A&l) 
memo to CMC, 70c t39, 1975-60-30-10. 


General Ostermann was most concerned with the de- 
crease in rifle qualifications, but he was also worried 
by the greatly inferior record of Parris Island. He 
felt that the discrepancy in rifle range qualifications 
between the two depots could be explained by the inex- 
perience of range officers at Parris Island and by the 
fact that 60 hours were scheduled for rifle and pistol 
at San Diego, compared to only 30 at Parris Island. 

The general approved San Diego ' s apportionment of 
training hours. He was convinced that while it was 
desirable to provide training with mortar, machine gun, 
and BAR, rifle and pistol marksmanship merited consider- 
ably more time, even at the sacrifice of other training. 
As long as it was necessary to operate under reduced 
schedules, rifle and pistol marksmanship should be 
stressed at the recruit depot and instruction in other 
weapons deferred until after recruit training. Parris 
Island could raise its scores and qualification percent- 
ages by increasing the number of hours in rifle marks- 
manship and, of course, by obtaining additional ex- 

perienced range personnel. 

The Commandant was also concerned over the poor 
results of rifle marksmanship training. On 17 October, 
he wrote the commanding generals at Parris Island and 
San Diego that he expected a higher percentage of 

(8) Ibid . 


qualifications in the future.^ As to the methods to 
achieve this, General Holcomb, in a subsequent letter, 
indicated that the commanding generals were the best 
judges of what should be done at their respective 
commands. However, he did suggest that the total hours 
of marksmanship training be increased, and some time be 
devoted to demonstrations of other infantry weapons. 
The four week schedule was to continue for the time 
being. 10 

Training During 1940 

By the end of January 1940, Marine enlisted strength 
reached the 25,000 mark. With the attainment of the au- 
thorized personnel figure, recruiting was reduced to a 
number sufficient to maintain the Marine Corps at its 
existing size. The pressure of expansion was for the 
moment removed, and it was possible to lengthen the period 
of recruit training. On 26 January 1940, the Commandant 
directed the recruit depots to increase their courses to 
six weeks for all personnel enlisted after 10 February. 

(9) CMC ltr to CG MB PI and CG MCB SD, 170c t 39, 1975- 

(10) CMC ltr to CO BaseTrps MCB SD, l6Nov39, 1975-60-20, 

(11) Dir, Div of Plans and Policies memo 6930 to CMC, 
26jan40, 1975-60-20-10. Staff recommendations by the 
Div of Plans and Policies were forwarded to the CMC as 
numbered memoranda. They are hereinafter cited as P&P 
memo (with appropriate number). 

(12) CMC ltr to CG MB PI and CG MCB SD, 26Jan40, 1975- 


Six Weeks Training e Recruit Depot, 

Schedule s Parris Island . 

1st, 2d, and 6th Weeks* 






Indoctrination and Military Courtesy- 


Interior Guard 


Bayonet Training 




Review of Instruction 


Field Training 


Includes? Marches, Scouting 

Patrolling, Tenting, First Aid, 

Sanitation, Chemical Warfare, 

Combat Principles, etc. 

(*) 13th - 30th days conducted on range; includes: 

instruction, demonstrations, fires, with grenade, 

rifle grenade, .22-cal rifle, .30-cal. rifle, 


cal. pistol, BAR, machine gun. No training-hour 

breakdown available. 

In March 19^0, the Commandant reviewed the results 
obtained with the six week schedules. He was particularly 
concerned about the number of hours of actual training as 
contrasted with the total number of hours provided in 
the training schedule. ^ Early in March, he wrote the 
Commanding General, MB, San Diego and requested the fol- 
lowing informations 

(13) The CMC had directed both CG's to avail themselves 
of whatever variations in scheduling they considered 
applicable to execute the recruit training program, in 
accordance with the basic precepts and requirements for 
recruit training. 


1. How long after a recruit arrives at the recruit 
depot is it before 

(a) he receives a physical and dental 

(b) he is issued uniforms, post exchange 
supplies, and his 782 equipment? 

2 Does the schedule provide for the time necessary 
to complete the above prior to initiating the 
training program? 

3. Considering the situation as it existed prior 
to September 1939, what was the average length 
of time elapsed? 

(a) between the time of arrival of the first 
recruit and the organization of the platoon 
to which he was assigned? 

(b) until he was assigned to the regular 


4. What police work was required of the recruits 

(a) while awaiting assignment to a recruit 

(b) after assignment to a platoon? 

(c) from time platoon completes training until 
recruit is assigned to regular service? 

5. Prom what source are messmen for the depot 

6. Are recruits receiving training required to 
performumess details at the base or on the 

range? 14 

Colonel Thacher provided the requested information. 1 ^ 

lc Medical and dental examinations are conducted 
on the morning following the recruits' arrival 
at the depot; uniforms and post exchange gear 
are issued that same afternoon. Upon formation 
of the platoon (almost without exception, 48 
men), 782 gear is issued. 

2. The above details were completed prior to the 
commencement of the training schedule. 

(14) CMC ltr to CG MCB SD, 6Mar40, 1975-60-20. 

(15) CO BaseTrps MCB SD ltr to CMC, 12Mar40, 1975, 


3. The time elapsed between the time of arrival 
of the first recruit and the organization of 
the platoon averaged six days; the time elapsed 
between date of arrival and completion of 
training through to date of assignment averaged 
48 days. 

4. Concerning police details, the policy at San 
Diego was to require recruits to clean and 
maintain their squadrooms, toilets, and 
washrooms while awaiting assignment; after 
assignment to platoons, the recruits continue 
the above duties; and while awaiting transfer, 
they perform the same duties. 

5&6. Recruits awaiting transfer to points outside 
the base and recruits held at the depot are 
used to perform duty as messmen at the depot. 
However, recruits under training are not used 
to perform mess at the MCB or the range. 

Apparently satisfied with Colonel Thacher's reply, 
the Commandant turned to Parris Island. On 27 March 
1940, he informed the Commanding General that recruits 
should not perform any labor other than policing their 
own quarters and surroundings prior to completion of 
recruit training. They were not to augment the messmen 's 
force or perform other labor except in emergencies. 

Major General J. C. Breckinridge, Commanding General, 
MB, Parris Island, replied to General Holcomb's letter 
on 5 April. He maintained that a break in the training 
sequence for mess and fatigue details provided a period 
of relief during an intensive program. Deferring mess 
and fatigue details until after the completion of train- 
ing usually resulted in the transfer of recruits who 

(16) CMC ltr to CG MB PI, 27Mar40, 1975-60-20. Parris 
Island's training schedule, dtd l6Peb4o, revealed that 
recruits were required to perform post maintenance work. 


had recently come off the range, with a break of more 

than three weeks in their last field and/or drill 


The Commandant also wanted to know more about the 
difference between the two depots' systems of range 
scheduling. A comparison of these schedules indicated 
that at San Diego the first three weeks were conducted 
at the base and the last at the range, while Parris 
Island scheduled the first two weeks at the depot, the 
following three at the range, and the sixth week back 
at the depot. The system employed at Parris Island of- 
fered certain obvious advantages, particularly in that 
the last week was used to review, in part, the training 
of the first two. In view of this, xvhat advantages 

1 P 

accrued from San Diego's scheduling? 

Colonel Thacher explained that, by providing a 
longer initial period of depot instruction, the recruit 
was afforded more time to make the adjustment to mili- 
tary life. 19 

Apparently convinced of the superiority of San Diego 
scheduling, the Commandant directed the Commanding General, 
Parris Island, to provide three weeks depot training prior 

(17) CG MB PI ltr to CMC, 5Apr40, 1975-70. 

(18) CMC ltr to CG MCB SD, 6Mar40, 1975-60-20. 

(19) CO HqBaseTrps MCB SD ltr to CMC, 12Mar4o, 1975. 


to range instruction. General Breckinridge firmly 

opposed the change. He pointed out that men coming off 

the range needed a week of drill and field, training to 

bring them back to the peak they had reached prior to 

*. . . 21 
range training. 

These marked differences in the procedures of the 
two recruit depots callef for resolution by the Commandant. 
After thorough stud;/ within the Division of Plans and 
Policies, Colonel Larsen, the director, submitted a 
series of proposals to General Holcomb. He noted that 
in the past a minimum of three weeks basic training was 
required prior to transferring recruits to the rifle 
range; and a minimum of three weeks on the range was 
necessary to transform the recruit into a rudimentarily 
trained rifleman. In addition, another week, preferably 
two, was scheduled to review the initial three weeks 


The current six weeks schedule did not provide ade- 
quate time to complete instruction in the basic subjects 
for duties performed in the general service. Particularly 
neglected was the subject of marches and march discipline, 
fundamentals in the training of the infantryman. 

Colonel Larsen recommended an increase in the length 
of she training schedule to provide for one week of 

(20) CMC Itr to CG MB PI, 27Mar40, 1975-60-20, 

(21) CG MB PI ltr to CMC, 5Apr40, 1875-70. 

(22) P&P memo 7053, l6Apr40, 1975-60-20-10. 


training after completion of range instruction. Since 
the present flow of recruits was sufficient to maintain 
the Corps' authorized strength, an addition of one week 
would not seriously inconvenience the program, nor de- 
crease the volume o 

General H >lcorab concurred, and, within short order, 
both depots were on the new schedules. 3 By early May 

1940 the Commandant had received and approved the new 

seven week schedules. 

Seven Weeks Training c Recruit Depot 


Schedule San Diego.* 



Subject Breakdown 


Physical Training 




Interior Guard 




Military Courtesy 


Bayonet Instruction 




Rifle Instruction 


Field Training 


Including s Patrolling, Scouting, 

Hikes, Marches, Signals, First Aid, 

Chemical Warfare , Cover and Concealment, 

Combat Principles. 

(*) lst-l8th days at depot, 19th-36th at 

range, and 

37th-42d at depot . 

(**) Unfortunately* the schedule did not include a 

breakdown of range instruction hours. (lDec4l, 7 wks 

schdl, RD 5 MCB, SD, 1975-60-20-10.) 

(23) CMC Itr to CG MCB SD, and CG MB PI, l6Apr40, 1975-70, 

(24) CO RD MCB SD Itr to CMC, 27Apr40, 1975-10, appvd by 
CMC, 6May40, 1975-60-20-10. CG MB PI Itr to CMC, 10May40 
1975-70, appvd by CMC, 20May4o, 1975-60-20-10. 


With regard to the differences in rifle range sched- 
uling between the two depots, the Commandant ruled in 
favor of Parris Island. The seven week schedule called 

for an initial three weeks at the depot, then three weeks 

at the rifle range, and a final week at the depot. J 

Interim Recruit Depot - Quantico, Fall 19^0 

On 11 August 19^0 the Marine Corps base at Parris 

Island was severely damaged by a hurricane. While salvage 

operations were underway, it was necessary to suspend all 

other activities, including training at the recruit depot. 

This posed an immediate problem for Headquarters since 

some 800 newly enlisted Marines were scheduled to report 

shortly to Parris Island to begin recruit training after 

induction at east coast stations. Since San Diego's 

depot was operating at full capacity, and the cost of 

transcontinental shipment was prohibitive, Headquarters 

decided to organize a temporary recruit depot at Quantico. 

The necessary space was available, and range facilities 

were adequate. And since these recruits, for the most 

part, were slated to join the First Marine Brigade, FMF, 

at Quantico, the Brigade was designated as training 

agent . 

(25) Ibid . 

(26) Unless otherwise cited, this section is documented 
by CO RD 5th Marines rpt to CG IstMarBrig, via CO 5th 
Marines, dtd 30Sep40, 1975-60-20-10. 


The Commanding General, 1st Marine Brigade, Brigadier 
r1 Holland M. Smith, ordered the Commanding Officer, 
Marines, Colonel Alfred H. Noble, to establish the 
isary organization. On 14 August the newly designated 

Recruit Depot, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade, FMF, came 

into being. ' 

Acting with celerity, Colonel Noble called his bat- 
talion commanders and their executive officers to a con- 
ference at 1300 that afternoon to discuss the problems 
attendant to the establishment of a recruit depot. The 
de jure organization became de facto later that afternoon 
when Colonel Noble transferred six officers and 92 en- 
listed men to the depot and designated Lieutenant Colonel 
Robert Co Kilmartin, Jr c , (formerly, Commanding Officer, 
2d Battalion, 5th Marines) as Commanding Officer, Recruit 
Depot. At 1630 that afternoon, officers and selected 
key noncommissioned officers met with Colonel Kilmartin 
and prepared a plan for effecting the immediate organi- 
zation and operation of the depot to receive recruits the 
following morning. 

On the morning of 15 August the first contingent of 
recruits arrived at the Quantico railroad station and 
were met by drill instructor groups, who guided the new 
Marines to the Recruit Depot where they were processed 
prior to commencing training. 

(27) Authorized by CG IstMarBrig, GO 12-40, and 5th 
Marines, GO 4, 40, both dtd l4Aug40, 1975-40-20-10. 

(28) 5th Marines SO 37040, dtd l4Aug4o, 1975-60-20-10. 


Three hundred and seventy- six men had reported to 
the training area by the 17th. 9 While the majority of 
this group was being processed, the first increment, 
formed into the first and second platoons, initiated the 
training schedule. Prom the start it was evident that 
the schedule was in serious competition with the calendar. 
Since the majority of the recruits were slated to join 
the 1st Marine Brigade prior to its movement to Guantanamo, 
Cuba, their training had to be completed before the bri- 
gade movement. To complicate the situation further, the 
depot was ordered to close 30 September to make room for 
the First Reserve Officers' Class which was scheduled to 
open on 1 October. 

Obviously, all the platoons could not complete the 
schedule, which provided for a total of 27 training days: 
13 days field training, 12 days range training, followed 
by two additional days of field training. Accordingly, 
the depot's staff set up two minimum requirements? all 
recruits must fire the .30-callber rifle course prior to 
departing Quant ico; and since the majority was destined 
to serve with the overseas-bound 1st Marine Brigade, 
training in ship -to- shore movement and embarkation. 

While the first two platoons successfully completed 
the original schedule, platoons 3-7 were the only other 
platoons to complete range training prior to" the terminal 
date, 30 September. The depot staff decided that all 

(29) Each of the 18 recruit platoons was organized as 

soon as the requisite number of recruits arrived at Quantico. 


personnel who did not receive range instruction before 
the depot's disbandment would return to the range after 
Joining their new units, prior to the bri < de's 

In the period £rom 15-28 August 1940, 855 recruits 
were formed into 17 platoons of 48 mt;= each and one, the 
18th, into a platoon of 37. 3 ° By 30 Sep, mber, 821 of 
these recruits finished training and were transferred to 
o'rher units: 4l8 to 5th Marines, 327 to other units of 
tha Brigade, and the remaining 75 to Signal Detachment, 
MB, Quantico, for additional training. The balance, 

totaling 43, constituted attrition from fraudulent en- 

listments, summary courts-martial, and sickness. 

The Quantico project was concluded on 7 October. 
All platoons fired the range for instructional purposes 
and satisfied minimal field training requirements; 
platoons 8 through 18 fired the range during the week 
following the depot's disbandment. 

Although this situation was not intended to simulate 
a national or wartime emergency, the parallel can not be 
avoided . It was obvious, as it had been in the fall of 
1939* that while forced schedules could be accomplished 
under pressure 3 at least six weeks was minimal. And when 
time was available the addition of a seventh week was 
most desirable „ 

(30) Two reenlisted Marines were transferred without 
recruit training, 

(31) CO RD 5th IstMarBrlg memo to CG IstMarBrig, 30Sep40. 

(32) CO 5th memo to CG Brig, 70c t4o, 1975-95-50/5. 


Continued Expansion and Training Prior to Pearl 

By mid-September 1940, Parris Island had recovered 
from the shock of the August hurricane and repaired the 

storm damage. Returning to normal operation, the recruit 

•a -a 

depot continued to take its share of incoming new Marines. J 

During fiscal 1941 (ending 30 June 194l), 19,084 regulars 

were enlisted; 9,987 trained at Parris Island, and 9,097 

trained at San Diego. 

While the influx of these thousands of recruits 
created additional administrative and organization prob- 
lems, by and large, these were resolved at the depot 
level. Despite continued shortages of experienced offi- 
cers and noncommissioned officers, Headquarters did its 
best to support the enlarged training facilities. During 
the period 1940-41, Headquarters authorized periodic in- 
creases in the tables of organization for the training 

establishments and transferred additional instructor 

personnel to the recruit depots. 

(33) CMC rpt, fiscal 1940. During fiscal 1940 13,114 
men were enlisted; 11,059 were first enlistments, and, 
of this number, 5,397 trained at Parris Island and 5,662 
at San Diego. 

(34) CMC rpt, fiscal 194l. The November 1940 mobiliza- 
tion of the Marine Corps Reserve added 5,009 enlisted men 
to the active duty muster rolls; since these men had re- 
ceived military training as members of organized units, 
they were not ordered to recruit depots. Interviews with 
Col W. W. Stickney (member 5thResBn, 1940 ) and Maj C. S. 
Nichols (with 5th Marines, 1940), 8Peb54. 

(35) CMC ltr to CO RD MCB SD, 12Jun40. A&I memo to CMC, 
24jun40. CMC ltr to CG, DeptofPac, 30Jun40. A&I ltr to 
CO, BaseTrps MCB SD, 10Jun4l. CMC ltr to CG PI, 27May4l. 
(All documents in 2385/7). 


However, Headquarters had still not succeeded achiev- 
ing a uniformly high level of training. In the spring of 
1941, a survey of recruit rifle scores indicated that the 
differences observed in the fall of 1939 between percent- 
ages of qualification^ for Parris Island and San Diego 
still existed Parris Island recruits continued to fire 
lower scores than those trained at San Diego. 

Headquarters attributed this difference to tsh* fact 
that the two depots operated their range programs along 
different lines. Parris Island transferred each recruit 
platoon to the range after completion of the l8th day of 
training, while San Diego moved recruits to the range 
weekly, on Saturdays. Since the period of range training 
averaged 15 days, and new platoons arrived daily, as many 
as 15 platoons converged on the Parris Island range at 
one time. As a result, the already hard-pressed range 
staff was forced to instruct 5, 1 3 10, or possibly 15 
platoons, each at a different phase of range training. 

General Ostermann recommended that Parris Island 

revise its system immediately. By sending platoons to 

the range on a weekly or a twice-weekly schedule instead 

of daily, there would not be less than three nor more 

than six platoons on the range at one time. The range 

staff could then work with a smaller number of groups and 

devote more ti»e to individual instruction. Under this 

system, Parris Island could expect appreciable increases 

in the number of qualifications and rival the success 
attained by Sam Diego. 

(36) A&I memo to CMC, lApr4l. 


General Holcomb accepted the A&I's recommendation 
and requested General Breckinridge to consider the feasi- 
bility of adopting the weekly or semi -weekly range system 
at Parris Island. General Breckinridge, after confer- 
ring with the Commanding Officer, Recruit Depot, and his 
staff, concluded the change would not appreciably improve 
conditions at the Parris Island range. 

The present schedule provided for three weeks of 
recruit training prior to range instruction. Changing 
over to a new schedule would interrupt the smooth flow 
and increase the administrative load: i.e., revision of 
present schedules and additional record-keeping. By 
transferring recruits after depot training, the range 
staff handled a steady flow, and accordingly followed a 
uniform pattern of instruction; all recruits had the 
same number of pre-range training hours and continued 
through the range-phase as units rather than as individuals 

General Breckinridge ' s recommendations were favorably 
received at Headquarters. Colonel Charles D. Barrett, 
Colonel Larsen's successor as Director of Plans and 
Policies, recommended that the Commandant approve Parris 
Island ' s range program and approve the transfer of ad- 
ditional range personnel to Parris Island. 

(37) CMC ltr to CG MB PI, 7Apr4l, 1975-60-20-10. 

(38) CMC ltr to CG PI, 27May4l, 2385/7-460. The 
Commandant authorized increases in MB PI table of organ- 
ization to provide additional personnel for range and 
Service Co. 


While each depot exacted the optimum from its mode of 
operation, it was obvious that the differences in operation 
were responsible for the contrasting degree of success each 
achieved. Accordingly, San Diego continued to enjoy higher 
scores and greater percentages of qualified riflemen. 

During the remainder of the prewar period, Headquar- 
ters strived to adjust these differences in results, both 
by authorizing additional personnel and by suggesting 
various changes in Parris Island's mode of operation. 

Summing Up 

During the period September 1939 - December 19^1* 
over 42,000 newly enlisted Marines were trained at the two 
recruit depots. y Two things were demonstrated in this 
period of expansion. First, there were definite limits 
below which training time could not be reduced without 
creating serious inadequacies in the military skills of 
recruit depot graduates. 

Second, variations in the training schedules had to 
be accepted as long as each depot did its own scheduling 
with no more than very general guidance from Headquarters. 
And as long as this was the case, there was not likely to 
be a uniformly high level of recruit training. A cursory 
review of the 27~month period indicates continued differ- 
ences in the percentages of qualified recruits, and in the 
scores fired at both depots. In addition, despite Head- 
quarters efforts to regulate the apportionment of training 

(39) Rough total compiled from CMC rpts, fiscal 1940-42. 

Of course, over 800 recruits were trained at Quantico in 1940. 


hours - i.e., range scheduled hours as opposed to depot 
scheduled hours - there was a continued disparity in the 
operation of the two depots. 

It remained for the actual commencement of hostili- 
ties, and the vastly expanded enlisted strength, to 
provide the stimuli required to overhaul the existing 
structure and method of operation. 



The two years and three months beginning with the 
first declaration of limited national emergency on 8 Sep- 
tember 1939 and ending with the Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor on 7 December 1941, were critical ones for the 
development of specialist training in the Marine Corps. 
Under the peacetime conditions which prevailed before 
September 1939, the Marine Corps was stabilized both in 
size and composition. Specialist training policy called 
for training to be conducted as much as possible within 
the units. Formal schools were kept to the minimum. 

With the gradual mobilization of the short-of-war 
period, demands for trained specialists required the ac- 
celeration of training. This was achieved by increasing 
the number of formal schools and by streamlining courses 
of instruction. By December 19^1, the groundwork had 
been laid for a mass production system for training 
specialists. To meet the vastly increased demand for 
trained specialists following the declaration of war, it 
was only necessary to expand this system and modify it 
in detail. 

The Peacetime Base - 30 June 1939 

On the eve of the expansion caused by the outbreak 
of World War II in Europe, the Marine Corps specialist 
training system was a combination of various types of 


Marine schools, supplemented by quotas in Army and Navy 
operated schools and civilian institutions. Courses were 
few and output was low, but they were adequate for the 
Marine Corps of 1939. With an actual strength of 18,070 
on 30 June 1939, the types and quantities of specialists 
required were very small. The complex maintenance and 
supply organizations which had to be staffed after the 
Marine Corps expanded its striking force to division and 
corps size were not in existence, nor were the units 
which would maintain and operate the intricate electronics 
equipment soon to be introduced. 

The specialist fields in which the Marine Corps con- 
ducted formal schools for enlisted men fell into two 
categories. The five schools in the communications field 
comprised one category, while the remaining schools 
(Armorer, Clerical, and Motor Transport) made up the 

The schools of the latter category were character- 
ized chiefly by a subjective system for selecting students. 
Standards for admission to all these schools, except where 
minimum education was specified, were general, permitting 
the commanding officers of the units from which the stu- 
dents were drawn to interpret the standards rather freely, 
drawing upon their knowledge of individual applicants. 

(l) There is not sufficient information about the QM 
Administration School and the two Sea Schools to justify 
generalization, so they are not included in this discussion 


Students for all these schools were to be of mature age 
and to have good records. At the Armorer and Motor 

Transport Schools, mechanical aptitude or experience was 

also required. 

Educational requirements provided a more objective 
basis in two instances. The Clerical School required 
students to be high school graduates, and the Armorer 
School called for students to have completed two years 
of high school. 

All these schools were located in Philadelphia, 
the Clerical School at the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, 
and the Motor Transport and Armorer Schools at the Depot 
of Supplies. Each school conducted one course a year, 
the clerical course of six months duration, and the 
other two five months in length. Total enrollment was 
very low, with only 10 in the Armorer School, 20 in the 
Clerical, and 35 in the Motor Transport. 

The curricula of the schools provided a fairly 
thorough coverage of the various subjects. At the 
Clerical School, students were taught typing, shorthand, 
and routine Marine Corps administration. Motor Transport 

(2) CMC ltr to CO MB Washington, D. C, 8Feb40, 1520- 
30-10. CMC ltr to CO MB Navy Yard Philadelphia, 13«Tul40, 

(3) Ibid . 

(4) Ibid .; Dep QM, Dep of Supplies, Philadelphia, ltrs 
to CMC~TTFeb39, lAug39, 1520-30-10. 


School graduates were skilled in both operation and 
maintenance, while students completing the Armorer School 
were competent to repair all Marine Corps small arms and 
automatic weapons. 

Training in the communications field differed from 
that in other specialist fields by virtue of the system 
for selecting students. Candidates for communications 
training were selected upon completion of recruit train- 
ing by use of written tests in mathematics, spelling, 
code, tone perception, and general intelligence. This 
method of selection furnished a degree of objectivity 
not present in selection systems for other schools. 

The communications training program was conducted 
by the 1st and 2d Signal Companies. Located at Quantico 
and San Diego respectively, both companies conducted 
elementary radio operator and field telephone courses. 
The mission of these schools was to provide personnel 
for the Fleet Marine Force trained in the setting-up, 
operation, and maintenance of radio and telephone systems 
in the field. Radio operators pursued a course of 20 
weeks duration and field telephone men one of six weeks. 
Advanced training was offered to experienced communi= 
cations men in the Telephone Electricans course conducted 
by the 1st Signal Company. Candidates were selected on 
the basis of a series of competitive examinations, 

(5) CO SigDet MB Quantico ltr to CMC, 2May40, 1520-30-160. 


including a general classification test, and tests in 
mathematics, electricity, and radio. 

Supplementing the Marine Schools were quotas in 
Army, Navy, and civilian schools. These were available 
for men who had already completed a Marine school or had 
gained considerable "on the job" experience. There were 

five Army, four Navy, and two civilian schools which 

Marines could attend. 

Marine enlisted men attended the Army Field Service 

School, the Engineer School, the Coast Artillery School, 

the Chemical Warfare School, and the Signal Corps School. 

At the Engineer School, one Marine was enrolled in each 

of the following courses: map reproduction and photo- 

graphy; electric motors and water purification: surveying 


and drafting. Two Marines, graduates of Marine Corps 
courses at the 1st and 2d Signal Companies, were admitted 
each year to the Signal Corps Wire Communications Course. 
At the Chemical Warfare School the Marine Corps was given 
a quota of six in the NCO course. 11 

(6) CMC ltr to CG MB Quantico, 12Jun30, 1520-30-160. 

(7) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. 

(8) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. 

(9) CMC ltr to AdJGen USA, 7Mar39, 1520-10-40. 

(10) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. 

(11) CO Naval Unit, Edgewood Arsenal, ltr to CMC, 30Jun39, 


Other Marines attended the Radio Material, Optical, 
Metalsmith and Machinist, and Sound Motion Picture 
Technician Schools conducted by the Navy. Six experienced 
commurications men, selected on the basis of examinations 
in mathematics, electricity, radio, and a general classi- 
fication test, took a six months course at the Radio 
Material School. At the Optical School, ten Marines were 

trained in the maintenance and operation of range finding 

equipment every eight months. 

There were only two civilian schools attended by 
enlisted Marines. These were the Automatic Electric 
Company School, which trained dial telephone technicians, 
and the Sperry Gyroscope School. At the Sperry School, 
enlisted men followed the same Searchlight and Sound 
Locator and Fire Con" :°oi Director courses available to 
officers. Designed to furnish trained specialists to the 
15th Marines (antiaircraft artillery)* these courses wer,- 
used to give further instruction to all the Marine gradu- 
ates of the Navy Optical School. 

This was the specialist training program which was 
soon to be subjected to' the pressures of three -fold 
expansion. For on 1 September 1939, Hitler sent his 
panzer armies rolling across the Polish frontier to 

(12) CMC Itr to CG ME- Q.uantico, 12Jun39- 1520-30-160. 
P&P memo 7064, 23Apr40, 1520-30-180. 

(13) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. P&P memo 7064, 23Aor40, 


deliver the opening blows of World War II. From this 
date, the Marine Corps was engaged in an ever accelerat- 
ing expansion, and with it an ever increasing demand for 
trained specialists. 

Expansion Begins - 8 September 1939 to 1 January 194l 
New and vastly expanded demands for trained special- 
ists were a natural by-product of expansion. But it was 
not until the early months of 1940 that the expansion had 
progressed far enough for these demands to be felt. Thus 
there was a period of about six months in which to make 
specific preparations for expanded specialist training. 
The most important action taken during this period 
was a trial run of the emergency signal training program. 
Prepared to implement the general provision in mobilization 
plans for the expansion of specialist training, this pro- 
gram was put into operation from November 1939 to June 
1940. Three short courses were given at both the 1st and 
2d Signal Companies; a Radio Operators' Course of 10 
weeks duration, a Field Telephone Course six weeks long, 

and a Message Center Course which lasted for three weeks. 

Output was as follows; 






Field Telephone 

Message Center 










(14) CO SigDet MB Quant ico ltr to CMC, 2May40, 1520-30- 
160. CO SigDet MCB SD ltr to CMC, 28May40, 1520-30-160, 


The accelerated program was not an unqualified 
success. The staffs of both 1st and 2d Signal Companies 
agreed that the 10 week radio operators course did not 
prepare its graduates for field duty. Both schools 
recommended additional practice in sending and receiv- 
ing code. Reaction from Fleet Marine Force units was 
even stronger. Reports from the two brigades and four 
defense battalions indicated that combat efficiency of 
graduates of the short course was no more than 65 per 
cent. By contrast, both the schools and the Fleet Marine 
Force units agreed that the six week field telephone 
course was adequate. Its graduates were rated as 80 per 
cent efficient. Neither the schools nor the Fleet Marine 
Force had much use for the three week message center 
course. Students were not qualified in visual signalling, 
they knew little about enciphering and deciphering, and 
they lacked the knowledge of communications organization 

in Marine units necessary to efficient message center 

operation. ^ 

Shortages of trained enlisted specialists began to 

appear during the early months of 19^0. At first, these 

shortages were met by a variety of expedients. Existing 

schools were expanded, quotas at Army and Navy schools 

were enlarged, new schools were activated, and tactical 

units were pressed into service to conduct formal schools. 

(15) Ibid .; CG FMF ltr to CMC, 13Jun40, 1520-30-160. 


In January, activation of defense battalions pointed 
up the need for men to operate and maintain the water 
purification units furnished the battalions. Lacking a 
formal school on the subject and unable to obtain a quota 
at the Army Engineer School, the Marine Corps was obliged 
to utilize a tactical unit to conduct the training. The 
1st Engineer Company of the 1st Brigade was selected to 
give the course at Quantico e Using its graduates of the 
Army Engineer School and the facilities of the Quantico 
water plant, the 1st Engineer Company ran a six week 
course, graduating eight men on 28 May. 

A more serious shortage in the defense battalions 
was in trained fire control men. These units were begin- 
ning to provide training in the specialty, but they relied 
upon the Sperry Gyroscope Company, manufacturers of the 
equipment, for most of their trained fire control 
personnel. With the deactivation of the 15th Marines in 
November 1939 , the graduates of the Sperry training pro- 
gram were diverted to the defense battalions. By April 
194-0, demands for greater numbers of fire control men 
led the Marine Corps to increase the output at Sperry by 
a greater specialization . Under the old policy, the 
same men took both Sound Locator and Searchlight, and 
Director Courses. Now separate groups were ordered to 
these two classes. 

(16) P&P memo 6926, 25Jan40, 1520-30-180. CG IstMarBrig 
ltr to CMC, 28May40, 1520-30-180. 

(17) P&P memo 7064, 23Apr40, 1520-15. 


By July, the pressures of expansion began to be felt 
by the Armorer and Clerical Schools. The Director of the 
Division of Plans and Policies at Headquarters Marine 
Corps reported to the Commandant that there were only 
192 armorers in the service and that there was a need 
for 90 to 100 more. To fill the need, the quota for the 
1 September class was increased from six to 24. Subsequent 
classes were to number 15. 

It was also necessary to meet a shortage of clerical 
personnel. The Commanding Officer of the Clerical School, 
Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, recommended that the quota 
for each class be increased from 20 to 30 and that the 
course be split into elementary and advanced sections, 
the elementary course to teach typing and administration, 
the advanced course to add stenography to the subjects 
taught in the basic c . The Commandant approved 
this request and on 1 August followed up by approving a 
Plans and Policies recommendation to speed up further 
the production of clerical personnel by eliminating the 
study of muster rolls and pay rolls. In the future, this 
training would be provided on the job. 9 

By the end of August, the demands for trained person- 
nel in established specialties could no longer be met 
merely by expanding existing schools or by tossing the 

(18) P&P memo 7221, 24jul4o, 1520-30-10. 

(19) CO MB Navy Yard, Philadelphia, ltr to CMC, Uul40, 
1520-30-55. P&P memo 7209, 13Jul40, 1520-30-55. P&P 
memo 7239, lAug40, 1520-30-55. 


problem to tactical units. It now became necessary to 
activate new specialist schools. The first of these was 
designed to meet a shortage of approximately 192 cooks 
and bakers. Schools in these specialties were set up at 
Parris Island and San Diego to supplement the "on the job" 
training at the larger posts. The course was eight weeks 

long, with 25 students in each class. The first class 

graduated on 15 November. 

The month of August also saw the beginning of formal 

tank training. To man the newly acquired M2A4 light 

tanks of the 1st and 2d Tank Companies, the Marine Corps 

obtained authority to send ten enlisted men to the 2d 

Armored Division at Port Knox, Kentucky, for instruction 

in tank operation. This was a temporary expedient 

pending the opening of the light tank course at the 

Armored Force School. Beginning in November, the Marine 

Corps was given a quota of ten enlisted men at this 


By fall, severe shortages began to appear in the 
communications field. Previously unaffected by the grow- 
ing size of the Corps, the communications schools were 
now faced with the problem of making up deficiencies 
caused by new activations and the bringing of existing 
units up to strength. The 2d Brigade, for example, 

(20) P&P memo 7328, 28Aug40, 1520-30-65. 

(21) P&P memo 7250, 5Aug40, 1520-10-115. 


reported a shortage of 96 in the training complement 

1 22 

and of 276 in authorized strength. This condition was 

recognized simultaneously, at Headquarters and in the 

field, for on 24 October the Commandant directed the 

Fleet Marine Force to institute communications training 

programs. On the same date, the Commanding General of 

the 2d Brigade requested authority to institute a train- 

ing program to overcome this shortage, J 

Beginning on 18 November, the 2d Brigade^ conducted 
a radio operators and a field telephone course. Of 12 
and six weeks duration respectively, these courses 
utilized the facilities of the Signal Detachment, Marine 
Corps Base, San Diego. Instructors and students were 
drawn from the brigade. Two cycles of each course were 
conducted, graduating a total of 77 radio operators and 
96 field telephone men. 

The 1st Brigade school was conducted under consider- 
able difficulties, as the brigade was on maneuvers in the 
Caribbean at the time the order to establish formal sig- 
nal training was received. It was not until 18 December 
that the communications training was begun, organized as 
a 10 week combined radio operator and field telephone 
course. Interrupted by a full schedule of landing exer- 
cises, the program was only able to produce 37 radio 

(22) CG 2dMarBrig Itr to CMC, 240ct4o, 1520-30-160. 

(23) Ibid .; CMC ltr to CG FMF, 240ct40, 1520-30-160. 

( 2i+ ) Ibid .; CMC rpt, fiscal 194l. CG 2dMarDiv ltr to 
CMC, 4FeS4l, 1520-30-160. 


pators and 15 field telephone men by 19 March when the 

Commandant ordered the program stopped. 

But the programs of the 1st and 2d Brigade wore just 
stopgaps. To provide a permanent solution to the short- 
age of trained signal personnel, the Commandant ordered, 
the signal detachments at Quant ico and San Diego to ac- 
celerate their training programs. Radio operators' courses 
were reduced from 20 to 12 weeks; the field telephone 
courses remained unchanged. Monthly input from recruit 
depots to both schools were increased. At Quantico the 
figure was raised to 110, 50 for radio operators and 60 
for field telephone men. At San Diego the Commanding 
General was authorized to increase the input "as may be 
necessary" to achieve maximum production. 

To make matters worse, the Army revised its Signal 
Corps School to take care of its own expanding needs and 
was no longer able to accommodate Marines in its Wiremen's 
course. To make up for this training loss, the Marine 
Corps was obliged to expand its own Telephone Electricians 
School from 11 to 20 students per class. 2 ^ 

(25) CMC rpt, fiscal 194l . CG IstMarBrig ltr to CMC, 
28Nov40, 1520-30-160. CMC ltrs to CG's, 1st and 2dMarDxvs, 
19Mar4l, 1520-30-160. 

(26) CMC ltrs to CG MB Quantico and CG MCB SD, 8Nov40. 
152O-3O-I6O. There is no documentary evidence to indicate 
whether this program was related in any way to the emer- 
gency program tried out the year before. 

(27) P&P memo 7505, !Nov40, 1520-30- 160. CMC ltr to CG 
MB Quantico, 6Nov40, 1520-30-160. 


These various expedients introduced in 19^0 served 
for a time to alleviate the critical shortage of trained 
specialists. But as the new year began, the pressures 
of expansion were becoming so great that the old methods 
would soon no longer be adequate. 

The New Specialist Training Program 

By February 19^1* Marine Corps expansion had reached 
the stage where enlisted specialist training requirements 
could no longer be met by the various expedients which 
had been used up to this time. It was against this 
background that the Training Cent at at Quant ico was 
organized. A mass production system, taking in recruits 
fresh from boot camp and turning out large numbers of 
specialists, this training center and others to follow 
became the foundation of specialist training in the Marine 
Corps during World War II. 

The Training Center at Quantico was an outgrowth of 
the Reserve Training Center. Organized on 25 October 
19^0 to train reservists called to active duty, the 
Reserve Training Center had fulfilled its purpose by 

February 19^1. On 8 February, the Division of Plans and 

Policies recommended that it be disbanded. Before this 

recommendation could be acted upon, it was superseded by 

another, calling for retention of the center but changing 

its designation to Training Center, Marine Barracks, 

(28) P&P memo 7852, 8Feb4l, 2385/70-6000. 


Quant icoo This action was not taken to fulfill an immedi- 
ate need, but to maintain the training organization for 

possible future use. One of the missions suggested was 

the training of specialists . 

The need for specialist schools was not long in 
coming. On 11 March, Plans and Policies recommended the 
establishment of an Amphibian Tractor School in the Train- 
ing Center at Quantico. Its purpose would be to provide 
preliminary instruction in motor boat and gas engine oper- 
ation for personnel to be transferred for special instruc- 
tion at the Amphibian Tractor Plant in Dunedin, Florida. 

At about the same time, the Commandant announced his 
intention of setting up a group of schools in the Training 
Center. These were to include the Amphibian Tractor School, 

Engineer School , Motor Transport School, and Ordnance 

Repair School. 

Suiting the action to the word, the Commandant, Marine 

Corps Schools activated the Amphibian Tractor School on 

24 March. J During the next four months, the Engineer, 

Motor Transport, and Ordnance Schools were also activated. 

While all these schools were organized under the Training 

Center, no effort was made to bring all specialist training 

(29) P&P memo 7908, 19Feb4l, 2385/70-6000. 

(30) P&P memo 7976, llMar4l. 1520-30-180. 

(31) CMC Itr to CMCS, l4Mar4l, 1520-30-180. 

(32) Hq MB Quantico, Post SO 365-1941, 24Mar4l, 1520-30-180 


activities at -'uantico under this training command. The 
Signal School continued to be separate, although in func- 
tion and organization it was similar to the component 
ychools of the Training Center. 

Amphibian Tractors were new to the Marine Corps. 
There were only a few demonstration machines in the 
Marine Corps, although contracts had been let for mass 
production at Dunedin, Florida. J As a first step, an 
instructional and administrative staff was assembled at 
Quantico about the middle of April. One officer and five 
enlisted men from this group were sent to the Hercules 
Motor Corporation for instruction in tractor power plants. 
Students in two groups, one to report on 1 May and the 
other on 1 June, were assembled at Quantico. They were 
selected on the basis of their experience in operating 
boats or motor vehicles, 75 per cent of them came directly 


from recruit depots. 

Owing to delays in construction of tractors, the in- 
struction program could not be carried out on schedule. 
On 6 June, the Commandant stopped the selection of students, 

pending delivery of tractors. 

(33) U, S. Marines and Amphibious War, 

(34) CMC Itr to CG MB PI, llApr4l: P&P memo 8092, 5Apr4l, 
both 1520-30-180. 

(35) CMC ltr to CG MB PI, 6jun4l, 1520-30-130. Dir P&P 
memo to CMC, l8Jun4l, 1520-30-180. 


The Engineer School was activated on 8 May, with a 
four-course curriculum divided into two parts. The 
specialist section included courses in Refrigeration and 
V/ater Distillation and Purification, while the military 
engineering section offered courses in Demolitions and 
Camouflage. Specialist courses were limited to instruc- 
tion in the operation of the specific types of refriger- 
ation and water distillation and purification equipment 
purchased by the Marine Corps for field use. The mili- 
tary engineering courses were to train camouflage and 
demolition experts for engineer battalions. 

A total of 30 enlisted students per month was author- 
ized, apportioned as follows : 

Water Purification and Distillation . 10 
Refrigeration ............ 10 

Demolition . . . . „ . . 6 

Camouflage ........ 4 

Of these, 50 per cent were to be selected from recruit 
depots, the only qualification required was mechanical 

(36) Hq MB Quantico, Post SO 540-1941, 7May4l, 1520- 

(37) TC MB Quantico, "Courses offered in Engineer School 
(mimeographed pamphlet dtd 70ct4l), 1520-30-70. 

(38) P&P memo 9027, l4Apr4l, 1520-30-70. 


The demolition and camouflage courses began about 
1 July , and two weeks later the refrigeration course got 
under way. Little difficulty was experienced with these 

courses, and classes graduated on schedule with an at- 

trition rate of only 11 per cent. 

But the Water Purification and Distillation Course 
was a different story. The equipment had just been de- 
veloped in May when the course was being organized, and 
deliveries in quantity were yet to be made. Based on a 
planned combat strength of two divisions and 10 defense 
battalions, the Division of Plans and Policies antici- 
pated a need for 412 trained specialists. By calculating 
a 10 per cent loss by attrition, the figure was raised 
to 453. To meet these figures, it was planned to conduct 

classes of one month duration, 40 students per class, 

beginning 1 July. 

Although the first class began on schedule, delays 

in receiving equipment forced one postponement after 

another, and it was not until 15 September that the 

distillation and purification equipment arrived. Students 

were given instruction in other courses during the summer, 

and finally the first and second classes were combined, 

all graduating on 30 September. 

(39) CO TC MB Quantico ltrs to CMC, 17 Jul, 7Aug, 25Aug, 
and 9Sep4l, 1520-30-70. 

(40) P&P memo 9090, lMay4l, 1520-30-70. CMC Itr to 
CG MB Quantico, lMay4l, 1520-30-70. 

(41) CO TC MB Quantico ltr to CMC, 4Sep4l, 1520-30-70. 


Experience with the first Engineer classes was 
mixed. While the Camouflage, Demolition, and Refriger- 
ation courses were generally satisfactory, the Water 
Distillation and Purification course was plagued from 
the first by an unacceptably high attrition rate. 
Realizing that this course was of a difficult technical 

nature, the staff of the Engineer School persuaded the 

Commandant to extend it to six weeks. But this re- 
medial measure was not adequate to prevent an attrition 

rate of 32 per cent in the first two classes. 

The high rate of failure was the result of inade- 
quate screening of prospective students by their units. 
In an effort to improve the selection process, the Plans 
and Training Office of the Training Center recommended a 
set of qualifications for condidates for the Refrigeration 
and Water Distillation and Purification courses. These 

students should be high school graduates with a knowledge 

of physics, mathematics, and chemistry. There is no 

evidence that this recommendation was acted upon, and the 

class ending in November graduated only 16 out of 33 

students. ^ 

(42) CO TC MB Quant ico ltr to CMC, 5Aug4l, 1520-30-70. 
CO TC MB Quantico ltr to CMC, 17Sep4l, 1520-30-70. 

(43) P&P memo 9440, 23Jul4l, 1520-30-70. 

(44) TC MB Quantico, "Courses offered in Engineer School 
°P- cit . BrigGen Nelson K. Brown ltr to CMC, 23JU.156, 

(45) CO TC MB Quantico ltr to CMC, 7Nov4l, 1520-30-70. 


Thus the Engineer School was to face its greatest 
test, which came with total mobilization after 7 December, 
with this problem still unsolved. Still, a good deal 
had been accomplished, for all the courses originally 
contemplated for the school were in operation and had 
completed several cycles of instruction. And of these 
courses, only one out of four had encountered any serious 

The Motor Transport School was activated to remedy 
a serious deficiency in motor vehicle operators and 
mechanics. The 2d Division, for instance, pointed out 

the lack of facilities, either in the Marine Corps or 

in the other services, for motor transport training. 

In response to this situation, the Motor Transport School 

was organized in the Training Center at Quantico and 

began operations on 1 July. Two courses were offered. 

The Operations course was two weeks long and accommodated 

10 enlisted men in each class, while the Mechanics course 

gave 30 men three months of instruction. All these men 

were selected from recruit depots. ' 

Hardly had the course started when it became e 

parent that two weeks was not enough time in which to 

train motor vehicle operators. Most of the students had 

very limited experience with motor vehicles, so it was 

(46) CO 2dDivSpeclTrps ltr to CG 2dMarDiv, 24Apr4l, 

(47) p&p memo 9074, 28Apr4l, 1520-30-90. CMC ltr to 
CG 2dMarDiv, 5May4l, 1520-30-90. 


necessary to give them an elementary course, including 
motion pictures, in the theory of motors and related 
subjects o As a result, only four days remained for 
actual driving practice, necessitating an extension of 
the course to three weeks „ 

The Operators course was deficient not only in 
quality but also in quantity . The original quota of 
10 students per class proved to be inadequate and had 

to be increased to 20 in August and then to 35 in 

September, * No further changes were made before 7 

December, nor were any other difficulties encountered . 
The completion of two cycles of the Mechanics' course 
and 12 cycles of the Operators' course provided ample 
opportunity for the school staff to shake down in 
preparation for the larger tasks to be encountered 
following the entry of the United States into the war. 

The Ordnance School was organized following a com- 
prehensive study of the whole ordnance problem by a 
special board appointed for that purpose „ According to 
board estimates, there were only 157 ordnance specialists 
in the Marine Corps, and of these only 62 were performing 
ordnance duties Requirements for camps, posts and sta- 
tions, and for Fleet Marine Force units were estimated at 
664, making a shortage of 507. To make up the deficiency, 

(48) P&P memo 9440, 23Jul4l, 1520-30-90. 

(49) CMC ltr to CG MB PI, 7Aug4l, 1520-30-90. 


the board recommended the establishment of an Ordnance 

School at the Training Center, Quantico. 

Six courses were contemplated for the Ordnance 

School . 

(1) The Artillery course was to cover mechanics, 
repair, preservation, modification, and inspection of 
artillery. Classes were to contain 22 enlisted men 
selected from artillery organizations and were to last 
for three months. 

(2) The Instrument course was to cover operation, 
construction, mechanics, testing, adjustments, mainte- 
nance, and inspection of instruments, including fire 
control equipment. Each three month class was to be 
made up of 11 enlisted men. 

(3) The Munitions course was to be of three months 
duration, with nine enlisted men in each class. 

(4) The Noncommissioned Officers course was to 
teach general ordnance maintenance, small arms, instru- 
ment, artillery, mechanics, supply, service, and Marine 
Corps accountability for three months to 17 graduates of 
the other courses. 

(5) The Officers course, for first lieutenants, 
marine gunners, and quartermaster clerks, was to be three 
to six months long. It was to teach small arms, artillery, 
fire control, munitions, tanks and motor vehicles, shop 

(50) Maj Morris L. Shively, et al., ltr to CMC, 25Apr4l, 


management, service, supply, and Marine Corps ordnance 

accountability . 

(6) Special trades courses were to teach a limited 

number of skills, such as carpentery, electricity, and 


These recommendations were adopted with certain 

modifications. Only four courses were offered at first: 

the Officers, Artillery, Ammunition, and Instrument 

courses. Quotas for these courses were to be as follows: 

Artillery 22 

Ammunition ........... 7 

Instrument 8 

Officers ...... 4 

A further modification was that approximately half of 

each class was to be made up of recurits, whereas the 

original plan called for all students to be selected 

from the Fleet Marine Force or posts and stations. 

Before this ambitious training program could be 
undertaken, ordnance equipment had to be purchased, 
buildings prepared, and a staff assembled. Procurement 
of equipment would take about a year, so the board recom- 
mended that arrangements be made with the Army Ordnance 
School, Aberdeen, Maryland, to use facilities of the 
school to train Marines. 

(51) See Chapter V below for officer specialist training, 

(52) P&P memo 9169, l6May4l, 1520-30-125 . 

(53) Ibid . 


Negotiations with the Army Ordnance School for the 
establishment of a temporary Marine school there were 
conducted by Captain G, 0. Van Orden. He arranged for 
a school using the Army facilities but staffed by Marines 
who were graduates of the Army school. Each month, 
courses of not more than eight artillery mechanics, three 
instrument repairmen, three munitions technicians, and 
four officers were to commence. To start the school, 

five officers and 13 enlisted men were sent to Aberdeen 

on 1 July. During subsequent months, an average of 

12 enlisted men attended the school every month for the 

remainder of the year. It was not until the spring of 

1942 that the Marine Ordnance School at Quantico began 

Army, Navy, and Ci vili an Schoo Is duri n g 194 1 
Despite the inauguration by the Marine Corps of its 
own specialist training programs, the old policy of send- 
ing enlisted men to schools of the other services and to 
civilian institutions was continued. The Marine Corps 
had to make a few minor modifications to meet reorgani- 
zations of these schools, particularly in the Army, but, 
for the most part, the program remained the same. 

Marines continued to attend all but one of the 
schools they had attended the previous year. The Navy 

(54) P&P memo 9321, 28Jun4l, 1520-30-125. 

(55) P&P memo 9411, 15Jul4l, and 9762, 80ct4l, 1520-30- 
125. CMC Itr to CG MB Quantico, 28Aug4l, 1520-30-125. 


Metal smith and Machinist School was dropped, but the Navy 
Fire Control School and the Fire Control course of the 
Army Coast Artillery School were added. These courses, 
along with the Antiaircraft Director and Searchlight and 
Sound Locator courses given at the Sperry Gyroscope 
Company, reflected the emphasis the Marine Corps was 
placing on the antiaircraft phase of base defense 


On 7 December, the Marine Corps was certainly not 
prepared to meet the new demands for trained specialists 
brought about by the coming of war. Not only were there 
still difficulties to iron out in existing schools, but 
the tremendous expansion following the outbreak of war 
created demands for specialists on an unprecedented scale. 
Still, the groundwork had been laid. The activation of 
the Training Center and its component schools furnished 
the pattern for the majority of specialist training in 
the Marine Corps during World War II. It was only neces- 
sary to perfect and expand this system to meet the demands 
of a rapidly expanding Marine Corps for trained specialists 

(56) List of Enlisted Schools, in unnumbered P&P memo, 
l8jul4l, 1520-30-180. 



On the Eve of Expansion 

The peacetime officer training program in effect in 
1939 was geared to produce a small, highly skilled pro- 
fessional officer corps . Upon reporting for duty, newly 
commissioned second lieutenants were assigned to the Basic 
School , located at the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy 
Yard. There U S c Naval Academy graduates, meritorious 
enlisted men, honor graduates of NROTC and ROTC, selected 
graduates from the Platoon Leader's Class, and outstand- 
ing officers from the Marine Corps Reserve entered a nine 
months program of intensive training which included: 
drills, ceremonies, marksmanship, naval law, small arms 
training, minor tactics, and other subjects designed to 
prepare new officers for duty with all Corps activities 
including the Fleet Marine Force and service afloat „ In 

fiscal 1939 (ending 30 June 1939) 67 second lieutenants 


were graduated from the Basic School, 

In addition, MCS conducted an annual summer camp 
for selected candidates for commission in the Marine 
Corps Reserve o Annually, beginning in 1935 > young col- 
lege men were enlisted as privates first class in the 
Volunteer Marine Corps Reserve and sent for two consecu- 
tive summers for six weeks of basic training at either 

(l) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939 o 


MCS, Quantico, or at the MCS-directed camp at Marine 
Corps Base, San Diego . This Platoon Leaders' Class of- 
fered instruction in the school of the soldier, drill, 
minor tactics, and marksmanship. Upon successful com- 
pletion of two summer camps and graduation from college 
students were commissioned second lieutenants in the 
Marine Corps Reserve. 

During the summer of 1939, 285 students attended 
the Platoon Leaders' Class (PLC) at Quantico, and 84 
trained at San Diego. The same year over one hundred 
PLC-trained men, who were graduated from college or 
university that June, were commissioned. These joined 
the growing rosters of those who had trained with pre- 
ceding classes and were now officers of the Marine Corps 


Establishment of the Reserve Officers ' Training 

This peacetime officer training system proved inade- 
quate to meet the needs of an expanding Marine Corps from 
the very beginning of the short-of-war period. The Basic 
School expanded its output during 19^0 and again in 19^1, 
but never sufficiently to graduate the needed officers. 
It was necessary to obtain the additional officers from 
another source. Fortunately, the Marine Corps was pre- 
pared for this: the Marine Corps Reserve (Volunteer and 
Organized) included young company grade officers who were 

(2) Ibid . 


available for active duty. However, since they were for 
the most part graduates of only the Platoon Leaders' 
Class, and had had but a minimal basic training, it was 
necessary to provide additional instruction prior to 
their assignment to general duty c 

On 18 September the Commandant approved the estab- 

lishment of an advanced training course for them. Two 

days later, he directed the Commandant of the Marine 

Corps Schools to "...organize as soon as practicable... 

an additional resident course in the Marine Corps Schools 

for the instruction of reserve officers." 

The first class was organized at Quantico, under the 
command of Major George E. Monson as the Off icer-in-Charge 
of the First Reserve Officers' Class (ROC). This class 
of 114 first and second lieutenants was assembled on 
2 October 1939c 

The First ROC established a pattern for later classes 
It was a heterogeneous mixture of officers from 28 states, 
and 52 colleges and universities . Their backgrounds were 
as varied as their reasons for accepting active duty. 
Included were? (l) the national emergency, (2) an active 
interest in the Marine Corps and a desire for a regular 
commission, (3) an interest in active military training, 

(3) CMC Itr to CMCS, l8Sep39, 1520 MCS. 

(4) CMC ltr to CMCS, 20Sep39> 1520-30-120 MCS CMC ltr 
to CMCS, 26Sep39, 1520-30=120 . 


( ) on the part of three officers, the temporary lac] 
of emi 3 • ym nt. 

Th I IOC com:' ted of a headquarters group, a 
and maintenance group, and bwo training companj 

officers were a ' ;ned to the infantry 
company (2 rifle platoons) and 51 to the specialist 
company. The specialist company was further divided into 
two units: a pack howitzer unit (20 students), to pro- 
vide field artillery training; and a base defense unit 
which trained 31 students. 

Both companies trained for a period of six weeks. 
However, during the final week, 24 officers from the 
infantry company were reassigned for 21 hours of addi- 
tional special training. Sixteen of these officers re- 
ceived training in a machine gun sub-course, and eight 
in an 8lmm mortar sub-course. 

The instructional staff of the ROC war, made up of 
officers from the resident staff of Marine Corps Schoo 
the 1st Marine Brigade, and specialists from the Post 
Service Battalion, Marine Barracks, Quant ico. For the 
most part, the instructional staff was assembled on ver 
short notice. Many were required to d >vote p< ■'■ of th ir 

(5) IstLt Anthony Francis, "History of the Marine Corps 
Schools," Quantico, 1945, (MS, HistBr HQMC). Hereinafter 
cited as Francis . 

(6) OIC, 1st ROC to CMCS, Final Rpt, 1st ROC, 15Nov3! , 
1520-30-120. This report is the basic document for infor- 
mation concerning the 1st ROC. 

(7) P&P memo 6769, lSep39, 1520-30-120. CMC ltr to" CMCkS, 
28Sep39, 1520-30-120. 


time to other activities. The ROC ' s plans and training 
officer, Captain David M. Shoup, was notified of his 
assignment to the new staff on the day preceding the 
arrival of the first students. He, like most of the 
other members of the staff, had to begin immediate plan- 
ning for the training schedule while still immersed in 
other MCS duties. Despite the short notice and the lack 
of a training syllabus and a permanent staff, the in- 
structors and staff officers came up with both a schedule 
and a syllabus in time for the first class. 

First ROC 

Sources of Instructional 

Hours of Instruction 


Def „ 



ROC Regular Unit Staffs 





ROC Hq Staff 



MCS Resident Staff 





First Marine Brigade 









(*) Includes 15 hours conducted by instructors of 
Rifle Co in combined classes. 

(**) Indicates combined classes conducted by MCS 
Resident Staff. 

In general, the training program was directed at the 
development of leadership qualities and the furtherance 

J.8) Interview BriGen David M. Shoup, ?4jun53. 

(9) Rpt of Plans and Training Officer to OIC, ROC, 
l6Nov39, 1975*95. 


lit officers' professional knowledge. And 
while the over-all program of training enjoyed a good 
measure of success, there were many obvious shortcomings. 
In particular, the training of the specialist company 
suffered from the lack of the necessary equipment. It 
was hardly possible to illustrate the theory and tech- 
nique of artillery and base defense weapons without the 
pieces or the related field demonstrations and firings. 
Therefore, of necessity, the emphasis was placed on 
classroom instruction rather than on field training. 

In addition, it soon became apparent that the method 
of assigning both the students and instructors had been 
faulty. In general, selection was based on the individual's 
previous military history, and/or his personal preference. 
Students had been allowed to choose between infantry and 
artillery. As a result, some ambitious but unprepared 
students were unable to keep abreast of the course. The 
best qualified were held back by the slower members. 
Unfortunately, some of the instructors also lacked ex- 
perience and were not prepared to present the requisite 
technical instruction. 

Upon the termination of the class, the instructors 
and students were invited to make critiques of the course 
and instruction. Both agreed that there was a need for 

(10) Interview BriGen David M„ Shoup, 24jun53. General 
Shoup noted that he was pressed to turn out training 
materials and serve as an instructor, in addition to his 
other MCS duties. Other members of the staff were under 
the same pressures. Working nights and week-ends was not 


additional field training and practical work, and for a 
longer training period It was also recommended that 
future specialist instruction be held where organizational 
equipment and materials were available for practical ap- 
plication of the classroom theory . This final critique 

confirmed the work-in -progress findings of the ROC ' s 

staff .■>■ 

Training Hours, First ROC Location 




Rifle Co 




F A Unit 




B B„ Unit 




Whatever its initial shortcomings, the 10 November 
1939 graduation exercise marked more than the completion 
of a course of routine training by 114 reserve Marine 
officers o It prepared the way for further ROC classes 
for the training of other reservists during a period of 
heightened military interest and international tension. 
Accordingly, the Second ROC was organized to commence on 
1 April 19^0, 13 

(11) Plans and Training Officer memo to OIC, ROC, 
l6Nov39, 1975-95. 

(12) Ibid . 

(13) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 27Feb40, and ltr to CMCS, 
7Mar4o, 1975-95-50, 


For the Second ROC, the curriculum was reorganized 
to meet the changing officer requirements. A comparison 
of the 1940-41 FMP officer requirements with the officer 
supply revealed that under existing procedures there 
would be a shortage of infantry officers and a surplus 
of Base Defense officers during 1940-41. To remedy this 

situation the Second ROC was devoted exclusively to 

infantry training. 

Fifty-one officers reported for training on 1 April. 

They were organized into a single company of two platoons. 

By and large the same training was offered, with one 

exception. Additional hours .of field instruction were 

added to the schedule, while a corresponding number of 

classroom hours were eliminated. Drill, customs and 

traditions, exercise, first aid, and weapons instruction 

made up the bulk of the subject matter studied during 

the 13 week schedule. J 

Despite the changes in internal organization, the 
Second ROC was hobbled by the same problems encountered 
by its predecessor. The continuing lack of suitable in- 
structional material required that the staff, in order 
to execute the daily lesson plan, prepare original ma- 
terial prior to the meeting of the class. Secondly, the 
differences in the instructors' military education and 

(14) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 27Feb40, 1975-95. 

(15) CMCS ltr to CMC, 29Jun40, 1975-95. CMC approved 
the 2d ROC training program in his ltr of 7Mar40, same 



experience made for an inequitable distribution of the 
work load. And, thirdly, despite a strong recommenda- 
tion on the part of the First ROC staff,: a permanent 
staff, was, as yet, not provided. 

i' .'.;" William C. Hall, the third commanding officer 
of as many classes, activated the Third ROC on 12 August 
1940, and classes got underway on 19 August. The 108 
officers in this class included 84 second lieutenants, 
USMCR, 18 graduates of the Easter PLC, and six officers 
from miscellaneous sources. ° Again, there was but one 
training unit - an infantry company. Those reserve offi- 
cers who were selected for base defense and artillery 
training were transferred to the Base Defense Weapons 
Course also located at Quant ico. 

In general, the 13 week curriculum remained unchanged, 
The course, divided into three major categories - Basic 
and Disciplinary, Technical and Weapons, and Tactical - 
totaled 486 hours of instruction. Profiting from the 
experience of earlier classes, more time was allocated 
to field exercises and practical application. It had 
been realized that increased student participation was 
a must : classroom lectures lost their impact unless they 
were followed immediately with actual demonstrations and 

field application. In the opinion of the instructors, 

however, there was still too much classroom work. 

(16) CMC rpt, fiscal 1941. ROC class period was 19Aug40- 

(17) CMC ltr to CMCS, HJul40, 1520-30-120. Col Wayne H, 
dams memo to Head HistBr, G-3, 3Aug56, HistBr HQMC. 


Unfortunately, much of the personal experience of 
the earlier staffs was lost to the third class. Contrary 
to the reiterated suggestions of the previous staffs, the 
newly assembled Third ROC had a new instructional group 
of officers and noncommissioned officers. This lack of 
continuity robbed the staff of the knowledge gained during 
the training of the First and Second ROC's. Like his 
predecessors, Major Hall recognized this failing, and he 
recommended that the incumbent instructional staff be 

The faculty of the Third ROC was not only inexperi- 
enced, it was also too small. As a result, only 10 hours 
of instructor's time could be allotted for each hour of 
instruction. This was supposed to allow for the prepa- 
ration of the lecture or problem, review by a senior in- 
structor before presentation, the marking of papers, 
holding a critique, and other similar matters. The 10 
hours proved to be wholly inadequate. Many lectures were 
given without review, some of them were given "off the 

cuff," and some field problems were not followed by a 


The Basic School ROC 

An additional reserve officers' course was organized 

at the Basic School in Philadelphia on 24 February 1941. 

(18) CMC ltr to CMCS, 23Aug40, 1520-30-120. The CMC 
approved the temporary duty assigned officers of the ROC. 

(19) BriGen VI. C. Hall ltr to Ass't C/S, G-3 HQMC, 
23Jul56, HistBr HQMC. 


The call-up of the Organized Marine Corps Reserve on 
15 October 1940 brought on active duty many junior 
officers with limited experience and training. As the 
ROC at Marine Corps School s, Quant ico, was scheduled to 
train graduates of the Officer Candidates' Class, it 
could not accomodate any additional students. It was 
to train the junior officers ordered to active duty 
with the Organized Reserve that the Basic School ROC 
was organized at Philadelphia, 

The Basic School First ROC commenced on 24 February 
194l, with a group of 155 first and second lieutenants 
drawn from a pool of some 220 such reserve officers, 

all of whom were in need of training prior to assign- 

ment to general duty. By comparison with the ROC at 

Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, the Basic School curricu- 
lum was weak in small unit tactics, a weakness which may 
have been unavoidable, owing to the lack of suitable 

training areas at the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy 

v ^ 21 

The Basic School First ROC completed its schedule 

on 31 May 194l One hundred and forty-five officers were 

graduated; of the original input of 155* seven returned 

to inactive status prior to the completion of the course 

(20) Proposed School Schedule (Regular Officers, Reserve 
Officers, Candidates and Platoon Leaders), Undated chart 
in folder 1990-50-5 MCS 

(21) Col L c Co Shepherd memo to CMCS, re Basic School 
Training Program, undated, 1520-30-120-TU MCS 


: ■ Lnabilj bj to maj ntain bh i requ 1 ; ' d 

standards, and the other three did not complete the 

course because of hospitalization. 

The Off icer Candidates ' P rogram 

For the fir lual ixpansion, the Marin 

Corps satisfied its officer requirements without resort- 
ing to additional procurement from outside sources. But 
after the author! satlon of 34,000 enlisted strength for 
fiscal year 194.1, and with further increases in sight, 
the Commandant and his staff realized that new sources 
of officer personnel would have to be sought. A short- 
age of BOO officers was anticipated by the end of fiscal 

i^4l, and further shortages could be expected in subse- 

quent years. 

The Marine Corps proposed to meet this shortage by 

organizing a new program to train and commission candi- 

' :cond Lieutenants. This candidates' clai s 

would be made up of an original input of between 1,10< 

and 1,200 recent college graduates (meeting in three 

successive classes of approximately 400 each), who were 

unmarried, under 25 years of age, of good character, 

physically qualified, and willing to serve on active 

duty for a period of one year. Successful candidates 

would be appointed second lieutenants in the Marine Corps 

(22) Dir Basic Sch to CMC, 31May4l, Rpt of graduates, 
Basic Sch, 1st ROC, 24Feb4l-31May4l , 1520-30-120-10 MCS 

(23) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 3Sep40, 1520-30-120. 


Reserve and continue their training with the ROC. Some 

800, the anticipated yield, would then be available to 

serve in Marine combat units. 

Moreover, if the Corps was subject to additional 
increases, the Candidates' Class would be continued to 
train new officers, and,.. in the event of war, could 
expand to provide the necessary officer requirements. 

On 3 September 1940, the Assistant Secretary of the 

Navy James V. POrrestal, submitted the Marine Corps plan 

to the President. • Shortly thereafter, President 

Roosevelt gave the green light for the Corps to initiate 

the candidate program. 

In accordance with the plan, letters were addressed 
to presidents of a number .of colleges and universities, 
explaining the recruitment program and seeking their 
cooperation. The prospects whom they recommended would 
be invited to apply. 

The initial instruction to the applicants noted 
that possibly some of the men enlisted in the Candidates 
Class would not qualify for commissioning because of 

(24) Ibid . 

(25) Assistant SecNav memo to the President, 3Sep40, 
1520-30-120. Although the authors" have not been able to 
locate any further references which would indicate the 
immediate relationship between Forrestal's memo and the 
P&P study, obviously the two are related. In all proba- 
bility, the CMC transmitted a recommendation, based on 
the P&P study, to the SecNav, via the chain of command. 
And the resultant memo, which contains the pertinent 
factors outlined in the study, followed. 

(26) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 3Sep40, 1520-30-120. 


physica L, , milH Lfications. 

Those sti 1 then b ired the choice of com- 

pleting the year's tour of active duty as enlisted men, 
or taking an honorable discharge. 

While Headquarters Marine Corps conducted the pro- 
curement program, the Commandant, Marine Corps Schools, 
proceeded to carry out General Holcomb's instructions to 
"...organize a class of not to exceed four hundred (400) 

candidates for appointment as second lieutenants, Marine 

Corps Reserve..." at O.uantico. 

On 21 October 1940, Colonel Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., 
assumed command of the First Candidates' Class. He im- 
mediately issued General Order No. 1....1940, which set 
forth the Class' mission and the program for its pro- 
mulgation. He noted that the Candidates' Class detachment 
was to; 

train the candidates appointed in the funda- 
mental::; of military discipline, and in the 
school of the soldier, squad and platoon, to 
afford candidates every opportunity to demon- 
strate qualities required of commissioned 
officers, to observe and carefully grade each 
candidate in the performance of his duties and 
to select those qualified for a commission in 
order to provide capable and well fitted offi- 
cers for the Marine Corps Reserv 

In addition to a Headquarters Detachment, the First 

Candidates' Class, was organized into four rj '] 

panies, A, B, C, and D, of one hundred men each. While 

(27) CMC ltr to CMCS, 80ct4o, 1520-30-120. 

(28) GO No. 1....1940, 1st Candidates' Class, 210ct4G, 
1520-30-35 MCS. 


the instruction of the candidates was under the general 
supervision of the Class Plans and Training Officer, who 
drew up the master schedule, the four company commanders 
were held "directly responsible for the individual train- 
ing of the candidates of their respective companies. " 

Arrival dates of 266 incoming candidates were stag- 
gered through the month of November. The first of these 
candidates arrived at Quantico on .2 November and were 
immediately organized into training platoons and companies. 
Each of the companies was commanded by a regular captain, 
and the platoons by reserve and regular lieutenants, 
assisted by platoon sergeants. " In view of the differ- 
ences in reporting dates, the length of the training 
program varied for each company. The earliest arrivals 
received 16 weeks training; the latest received 13 weeks. 

It should be remembered that there was a marked 
difference in the training levels of the Candidates' 
Class as opposed to the ROC. While the ROC students 
were commissioned officers, and for the most part, gradu- 
ates of the PLC's, NROTC's, ROTC's, the candidates were 

(29) CMC had authorized the transfer of additional 
personnel to the MCS Detachment, to provide the necessary 
enlisted staffs for the Candidates' Class. 

(30) The companies' organizations were effected as 
follows: Company "A" - 1Ncv40, Company "B" - 10Nov40, 
Company "C" - 15Nov40, and Company "D" - 20Nov40. Prom 

modification No. 1 to GO No 19^0, CG, MCS, 1520-30- 

120 MCS. No date or number on Order. 


novices and, in general, totally lacked military experience. 

As a result, the candidate program required a different 


From the onset, it was estimated that the candidates 
would require closer scrutiny and more individual guidance 
on the part of the instructors. Accordingly, the curricu- 
lum, was essentially a basic training program, totalling 
about 550 hours, and included : drill, marksmanship, small 

arms, parades and ceremonies, customs and traditions of 

the Corps, combat principles, and map reading. Field 

demonstrations and exercises were included to supplement 

class room lectures. 

The training program's shortcomings lay in the fact 
that the instructional organization foisted the burden of 
the teaching load upon the companies: the success of this 
instruction was dependent upon the teachers' professional 
military experience. Unfortunately, some of the 12 pla- 
toon commanders were themselves still relatively "wet 
behind the ears." 33 

The character of the Candidates' Class presented the 

staff with a special problem. In addition to training 

the class, the staff was charged to " therefrom 

(31) Col Shepherd memo to CMCS, 25Nov40, 1975-100 MCS. 
Gen Torrey (CMCS) memo to A. F. Howard (Col Howard was 
ACMS), 40ct40, 1520-30-120 MCS. 

(3£) Subjects which fell under the scope of the ROC were 
not included in the CC; the instruction was basic, disci- 
plinary, technical, and tactical. Memo No. 1-40, Col 
Shepherd, undated but presumably 0ct-Dec40. 1520-30-120. 

(33) CO, Candidates' Class, memo to CMCS, 12Nov40, 
1975-100, 1520-30-120. 


and recommend for further promotion and training those 
who appear to possess those qualities of character and 

military leadership. . . " which would eventually qualify 

them as Marine Corps officers „ 

This necessitated the operation of a careful and 

accurate system of grading to chart the progress and 

military proficiency of each candidate. Toward this end, 

Colonel Shepherd authorized a ". . . detailed and uniform 

system of marking each candidate..."^-* a method which 

was in use by mid-March . Each company commander was 

charged with maintaining a progress record for each 
candidate in his unit. Since the candidate's recom- 
mendation for commissioning depended upon the marks he 
made, under the two divisions, "General Characteristics," 
and "Military Qualifications," each category was scored 
by different criteria. ^' The 10 subjects listed under 
"General Characteristics" were separately weighted and 
scored on the basis of the individual and combined 
opinions of the candidate's company commander, platoon 
commander, and platoon sergeant „ The scores given for 
subjects listed under "Military Qualifications" were the 
result of classroom examinations and field tests. 

(34) Gen Torrey memo to Col Howard, 40ct40, 1520- MCS. 

(35) GO No, 1-1940, 210ct40, 1st CC Polder, 1520- MCS. 

(36) GO NOo 2-1940, l8Nov40, 1st CC Polder, 1520- MCS. 

(37) See sample record card at end of this chapter. 


Led to bh i <■■■■ I b d min3 ■• 
I standards were listed as deficient. After the monthly 
recordings were made, the deficient students were inter- 
viewed by their company commanders and the commanding 
officer, Candidates' Class. The candidate's problems, 
personal and scholastic, were discussed with him with 
the aim of helping him make the adjustments necessary to 
attain the minimum class standards. From the beginning 
of the program, it was appreciated that some men would 

not be able to make the transition from civilian to raili- 

tary life. However, the foreknowledge that as a group 

the candidates represented a select body of healthy, 

vigorous college graduates, many of whom had already 

initiated successful civilian careers, served to augur a 

successful first class. 

This expectation was fulfilled. Although the four 
candidate companies were convened at different dates, 
all successfully completed the course as outlined in the 
master schedule. 

By the second week of February 1941, the First 
Candidates' Class was ready for graduation. Of the 265 
candidates who reported for training in November of 1940, 
233 were commissioned second lieutenants, USMCR, on 20 
February 1941, While not apparent at this time, the 

Con Torroy memo to Col Howard, op. cit. 


attrition rate was rather low. Some 12 per cent of the 

class failed to meet all the standards; some were physi- 
cally disqualified while others were found wanting in 
either one, or both, "Military Qualifications" and "General 
Characteristics. " 

The Second Candidates' Class convened on 14 March 
1941. A total of 407 candidates reported and were organ- 
ized into four companies. With the exception of a new 
commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Dubel, 
the organization and staff were unchanged. 

The experience gained from the first class began to 
pay dividends. Accordingly, the candidate companies were 
relieved of all administrative details in order that they 
might devote all their time to training. The early re- 
lease of the master schedule afforded each company ample 
time for making adequate preparations for the unit ? s 
instruction and training. All instruction was prepared 
and presented by the officers of each company with the 
exception of training in marksmanship and special combat 
weapons, i.e., 37mm antitank "gun. 

■ Most of the company-level instruction was provided 
in small classrooms, one assigned to each training unit. 
And weather permitting, terrain and range exercises fol- 
lowed lectures and classroom demonstrations. 

(39) Later classes showed. an average attrition of 20 per 


The four training companies were commanded by offi- 
cers of the regular Marine Corps. While the original 
complement of three lieutenants per company, as platoon 
leaders, was continued, executive officers of the com- 
panies were dropped, with a resultant increase in the 
administrative work on the company commanders. 

Colonel Dubel recommended that future classes reas- 
sign an executive officer to each company. The executive 
could relieve the company commander of the burden of 
administrative details and prepare the company's field 
problems. The company commander should be free to devote 

his time to the class' training in order to grade the 

candidates and make recommendations for commissioning. 

Colonel Dubel made two other recommendations: one, 
that the class size be limited to 400; and the second, 
that boats be made available to demonstrate landing 
operations. These recommendations were endorsed by the 
CMCS and forwarded to the CMC, who accepted the recom- 
mendations in substance but advised that any increase 
in the officers T/0 to provide the executive officers 
was not feasible because of the expansion of FMF and 
activation of additional units. 

The Second Candidates' Class continued to use the 
marking system adopted in the First Candidates Class. 
And it was constantly stressed, both to the class and to 

(40) CO 2d CC to CMCS, 17Jun4l, Final Rpt, 2d CC, 25Jun4l, 
1520- MCS; 1st End by CMCS on 2d CC Final Rpt; CMC to 
CMCS on same rpt, 12Jul4l, 1520-30-120. 


the staff, that the individual candidate's recommendation 
for commission would continue to be determined by his 
proficiency under the two general headings, "General 
Characteristics," and "Military Qualifications." 

Of the 407 candidates originally enrolled in the 
Second Candidates' Class, 322 measured up to the rigorous 
"General Characteristics" and "Military Qualifications" 
standards. They received their commissions on 29 ^ay 

The original plans for OCC had provided for only 
two classes, but the increases in authorized enlisted 
strength for fiscal 1942, led to a continuation of the 
candidates/' program. 

Accordingly, . the Third Candidates' Class was organ- 
ized during the. last week in June and commenced prepa- 
rations to train a class of about 400. By 14 July the 
final increment of students totaling 403, had reported 
and the schedule was set into operation. Although the 
headquarters detachment assumed much of the Class ad- 
ministrative duties, the lack of company executive offi- 
cers prevented the company commander from devoting his 
full attention to the training program. 

This class followed along the lines of the fore- 
going classes; and in accordance with the Candidates' 
Class mission, instruction continued to emphasize the 

(4l) MCS GO No. 1-1941, l4Peb4l, 1520-30-35 MCS. 


school of the soldier, marksmanship and weapons familiar- 
isation, terrain appreciation, squad tactics, and cere- 
monies and drill. 

The class completed its 13-week training cycle by 

15 October, and 304 of the original 403 candidates were 

graduated and commissioned on 1 November, 

ROC Becomes Post-Graduate Training for OCC 
For the first three classes, the ROC had been used 
to prepare reserve officers called to active duty for 
service afloat and with the FMF. The Fourth ROC repre- 
sented a departure from this practise. It was made up 
of the entire graduating body of the First OCC, an action 
taken in recognition of the fact that OCC graduates would 
require additional training before they were ready to 
assume command of troops in the field. This they received 
in the ROC. The same practise was observed for all subse- 
quent OCC classes, resulting in a two-part basic officer 
training program, designed to transform civilians into 
competent troop leaders. In this form, officer training 
was to continue until the beginning of 1945. 

The 233 members of the class started to train during 
the first week of March 1941. From the very beginning, 
they were cautioned that although they had successfully 

(42) CO CC to CMCS, Final Rpt, 2d CC, 3Nov4l, 1520-30. 
35 MCS. 


completed the candidates program, and been commissioned, 
this was no cause to let up. 

The master schedule called for a course of 15 weeks 
length and of about 643 hours of basic training, 
including: small arms marksmanship, field fortifications, 
and tactics up to and including company level. As weather 
permitted, instruction and tactical demonstrations were 
conducted in the field. Most of the remaining time was 
devoted to landing operations, map reading, and drill and 
command exercises. 

Because of its size, the 233 recently commissioned 
graduates of the First Candidates' Class, the Fourth ROC 
was organized into two companies. The senior instructors 
and staff were regular officers assisted by junior offi- 
cers who were either graduates of the Basic School, recent 
students in the Junior Course, Marine Corps Schools or 
former reservists. Despite personnel shortages, Marine 
Corps Schools provided a staff of sufficient size. The 
major portion of administrative detail was eased by the 

(43) In his welcoming address to the class, the Command- 
ing Officer, Col E. 0. .Ames, emphasized that whereas the 
Candidates Class represented intensive education in basic 
and military subjects designated to provide the minimum 
essentials for the squad leader, the Reserve Class was a 
course of advanced training to fit commissioned officers 
for duty as platoon leaders. Remarks of CO 4th ROC, 
3Mar4l, 1952- MCS. 


assignment of additional clerical personnel from the 

Marine Corps Schools Detachment. 

The progress and degree of proficiency of the indi- 
vidual officers was carefully observed and recorded. The 
ROC employed a grading system which was similar to the 
one employed at Candidates' Class. It, too, was divided 
into two categories, "General Characteristics" and 
"Military Proficiency." The latter measured by written 

tests and answers to marked problems; the former, by the 

personal evaluation of each officer by the ROC staff. 

Those students who failed. to measure up to the established 
criteria of proficiency were eliminated prior to the date 
of graduation. The unsuccessful were returned to inactive 
reserve status. 

Training for this class culminated in an amphibious 
landing exercise. The students were formed into an as- 
sault battalion, and, under the close supervision of their 
instructors, landed and seized a beachhead. They generally 
demonstrated a sound knowledge of tactical principles and 
usually made the correct decisions, but they were often 
unable to translate these decisions into orders or to 
move their units in the field. To correct this serious 
deficiency, the troop leading exercise was developed. It 

(44) CO 4th ROC, op. cit. ; and undated pencil memo from 
Col A e F. Howard to CMCS re comments on Maj Kerr's 
Estimate of Training Situation for 4th ROC, 1.520- MCS. 

(45) Administrative memo No. 2-4l, 26Feb4l, ROC, 1520- 


consisted of a series of squad, platoon, and company 
tactical exercises in which the student, acting as unit 
commander, was presented with a tactical problem, given 
an approved solution, and required to perform all the 

steps necessary for the movement of the unit in carry- 

ing out the given solution. 

The first class to mark the initiation of the new 

Candidates' Class - Reserve Officers' Class training 

program was graduated on 29 May 1941. Of the original 

input of 232, 216 successfully completed the course. 

While some remained at Quant ico to assist in the train- 
ing of new candidates, and others were assigned to the 
Base Defense Weapons Class (at Quantico) for further 

training, the majority were transferred to other Marine 


Corps activities, the FMF in particular. 

The last of the peacetime ROCs, the Fifth, began 
its program in June. The output of the Second Candi- 
dates Class, 322 second lieutenants, plus three hold- 
overs from the Fourth ROC, entered training on the 9th. 
There were no apparent differences between either the 
conduct or curriculum of this class and its predecessors, 

(46) Col J. E, Kerr ltr to CMC, 25Jun56, HistBr HQMC, 

(47) OIC RecSec MCS rpt, 1^20-30 MCS. 

(48) While the records of the 5th ROC Indicate that 
two officers of the 4th were assigned to this class, 
because of their hospitalization during the course of 
the 4th, none of the available records indicate the 
percentage of deficients and how many were physically 


both the course's content and the class organization 
adhering to the pattern established during the operation 
of the Fourth ROC. 

The course was completed by the first week of Sep- 
tember, and 304 officers were graduated on the 10th. 

In accord with the military establishment's con- 
tinued build up, the same pattern of officer procurement 
and training was continued during the late months of the 
fall of 1941. The Fourth Candidates' Class and the Sixth 
ROC were organized in November and began their training 
the first week of the month. 

On the Eve of War 

During the 27-month period preceding Pearl Harbor, 
1,089 Marine officers completed elementary training 
courses. Of this total, only 299 were graduates of the 
regular Basic School. The remainder were graduates of 
the Reserve Officers' Course at Marine Corps Schools, 
Quantico, or the Reserve Officers' Course at the Basic 
School. Some of them had entered the Marine Corps as 
Officer candidates. They had completed the Officers 
Candidates' Class at Marine Corps Schools before enter- 
ing the Reserve Officers* Course. 

These figures clearly indicate the extent to which 
the Marine Corps had come to rely on the OCC and ROC 
for the training of new officers. These two schools, 
organized during the short-of-war period, provided the 


great part of basic officer training by December 19^1. 
They were destined to continue in this capacity until 
19^5. Thus the Marine Corps had utilized the partial 
mobilization of the short~of-war period to organize the 
school system which was to train the vast majority of 
new ground officers who entered the Marine Corps during 
the first three years of World War II. 


November 1940 - January 1942* 






1st CC 






2d CC 






3d CC 






4th CC 






(*) Compiled from Div of Res folder 90-a-Candidates ' 

(**) Discharged: Honorable discharges for the following 
reasons: a.) physical disabilities discovered during the 
training period or during the initial physical examination 
after reporting to Quantico, b.) fraudulent enlistment, 
i.e., marriage (candidates were required to remain single 
during their training status), c.) the convenience of the 
student, i.e., hardship suffered because of candidate's 
absence, d.) because of candidate's inability to maintain 
the standards of the course in either scholorship or 
military characteristics, or both. 


October 193? — -^"' - >v ' 19^2* 




1st ROC 




2d ROC 




3d ROC 




4th ROC 




5th ROC 




6th ROC 




(*) Untitled Chart 5600-28-9, 9A; from a collection of 
charts listing ROC and PCS classes, from October 1939 
through December 1945, MCS. 



The short-of-war period witnessed sweeping changes 
in the advanced training of Marine officers. What had 
been a balanced program, including progressive command 
and staff courses had been discontinued by December 19^1 $ 
and participation in those offered by the Army and Navy 
had been greatly reduced. Specialist courses not only 
increased in number during the period, but the Marine 
Corps, which had relied almost entirely on the other 
services in 1939* assumed most of the burden for this 
type of training. 

Peacetime Training 

In 1939, Marine officers were afforded the oppor- 
tunity for advanced professional training in a graduated 
system of schools and courses. Included were courses 
offered by the Army, Navy, and foreign governments as 
well as of the Marine Corps. 

The Junior Course, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, 
represented the most elementary level of command and 
staff training. Senior lieutenants and captains attend- 
ing this course were provided with "a sound basic mili- 
tary education; a thorough knowledge of the tactics and 
techniques of land and amphibious warfare; a sufficient 
knowledge of the weapons, tactics, and technique of sea 
warfare to insure intelligent collaboration with the 
Navy. . . . ;t * 

(1) Col P„ A. Del Valle memo to Dir P&P, 15Nov39, 1975-80, 


The Senior Course , Marine Corps Schools., Quantico, 
represented the intermediate level of ssional 
schooling. Here field grade officers and senior captains 
were taught "the art of command; a thorough understanding 
of naval and military strategy and tactics and the na- 
tional policies they tend to support; and a good working 
acquaintance with world politics and history...." 
Education at a comparable level was also afforded by the 
Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth , 
Kansas . 

For colonels and lieutenant colonels, there were op- 
portunities to attend service schools of the highest 
level. These included the Army War College, Navy War 
College, the Army Industrial Cdllege, and the Ecole 
Superieure de Guerre in Paris. 

The only Marine Corps specialist course for officers 
was the Base Defense Weapons Course. A component of the 
Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, the course was designed 
to train company officers in the use of weapons employed 
in the defense of advanced bases, and light field artillery. 
Thus the Base Defense Weapons Course was also the primary 
source for artillery officers for the brigades of the 
Fleet Marine Force. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. 


it- begin] 

: ■ 


■.'■>.: A i n ■ i b ■ 

lllery was maintained, 

nd 300 to field 

: d : 

. -al military subjects, For most Of the course, the 

ntieo. the last 

I bw weeks' 

■o field ry. 
In 1939 there was no opportunity to fire coast at»1 

To sup* limited opportunity for officer 

cialist training within the Marine Corps, the Army 
made available small quotas in their regular officers' 
courses at the Ordnance Field Service, Engineer, Signal 
Corps, Coast Artillery, Field Artillery, Chemical Warfare, 
Infantry, and Cavalry Schools. Advanced technical train- 
ing was available at the Havy Post Oraduate School's 

io Engineering course, and at the Sperry Gyroscope 
Company. The latter offered two courses in the oper- 
ation and maintenance of antiaircraft equipment, one in 

(4) Enol C (Tentative Schedule, Base Defense Weapons 
Class, 1939.40) of CMCS ltr to CMC, 12Jun39, 1520-30-120. 


sound locators and searchlights, and another in fir 
control directors (M-4). For those officers interested 
in languages , there were courses in Spanish, Chinese, 
and Japanese, at Mexico City, Peiping, and Tokyo 
respectively. Other schools open to officers included 
George Washington University Law School and the Lowell 
Textile Institute. 5 





Base Defense Wons 


1520-30-120 HQ.MC OenFlles 

Army Cavalry 


Muster roll 

Army Chem Warfare 



Army Coast Arty 



Army Engineer 


Muster roll 

Army Field Arty 



Army Field Service 


Muster roll 

Army Infantry 


Muster roll 

Army Signal Corps 


CMC Rpt, Fiscal 1939 

Navy Post Grad 



Sperry Gyro Corp 


Lowell Textile Inst 


Muster roll 

GWU Law School 


Spanish (Mexico City) 


Japanese (Tokyo) 


Chinese (Peiping) 




(*) All figures which do not have a source indicated 
have been estimated on the basis of P&P Memo 6769, 
l8Sep39, 1520-30-120, which gives a list of officers 
attending schools as of l8Sep39„ 

Expansion Begins 

During the three months following President Roosevelt's 
declaration of limited national emergency, Marines at 

(5) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939 


Headquarters and at Quantico engaged in a reappraisal of 
the officer training program to determine what changes, 
if any, should be made in the light of an enlisted 
strength expanded to 25,000. Included was a proposal to 
accelerate the Base Defense Weapons Course. Fearing 
that a worsening emergency might require the transfer on 
short notice of officers attached to the Marine Corps 
Schools to combat units, the Commandant on 16 October 
directed the Commandant, Marine Corps Schools and the 
Commanding General, 1st Marine Brigade, to draw up plans 
for a special three -month Base Defense Weapons Course. 

The commanders of both organizations convened special 
boards during the fall of 1939 to study the problem. The 
1st Brigade board, under the presidency of Lieutenant 
Colonel Raphael Griffin, reported first, recommending 
that the Base Defense Weapons Course be divided into 
an Artillery Course and a Base Defense Weapons Course. 
Both of these courses should be mainly technical, with 
adequate amounts of artillery materiel available for use 
in instruction.' The Marine Corps Schools board, headed 
by Lieutenant Colonel Graves B. Erskine, reached the 
same conclusions. They", too, urged that base defense 
and field artillery be separated and that instruction 


should stress technical application. 

(6) CMC ltr to CMCS, l60ct39, 1520-30-120. 

(7) LtCol Raphael Griffin ltr to CG IstMarBrig, 4Nov39 

(8) LtCol G. B. Erskine, et al . , ltr to CMCS, 310ct39, 


These reports were forwarded to the Commandant in 
December. They arrived just as the Division of Plans 
and Policies was completing a study of over-all Marine 
Corps officer needs for a force of 25,000 enlisted men. 
On the basis of this study, the Commandant decided that 
no changes in the officer training program were necessary 


at that time. 

During the early months of 1940, further studies 
were made. In response to a recommendation from the 
Marine Corps Schools, the Commandant approved the split- 
ting of the Base Defense Weapons Course into artillery 
and base defense sections. But it was not until May 
that any action was taken. On the 25th of that month, 
the Commandant issued a directive to Marine Corps Schools 
reducing the length of the 1940 class from 4l to 18 weeks. 
This action was taken to release officers to the Fleet 
Marine Force as rapidly as possible. At the same time, 
the Commandant wished to maintain the "continuity of 
instruction and the present high standards at the Marine 
Corps Schools." 

The task of reconciling these two seemingly contra- 
dictory goals fell to the staff of Marine Corps Schools. 
Their solution was to put into effect the separation into 
base defense and artillery sections already authorized 

(9) P&P memo 69OO, 26Dec39, 1520-30-120. 

(10) CMCS ltr to CMC, 1 Mar40, 1520-30-120. CMC ltr to 
CMCS, 7Mar40, 1520-30-120. 

(11) CMC ltr to CMCS, 25May40, 1520-30-120. 


and to reduce the time devoted to general military 
subjects. 1 The 480 hours offered in the previous class 
were reduced to 182 in the Base Defense Section and to 
154 in the Field Artillery Section. The time saved was 
put to good use. Not only were there more hours avail- 
able for artillery instruction, but more time was sched- 
uled for actual firing. The 5^ hours devoted to firing 
of all weapons the previous year was increaded to 165, 
75 of them for field artillery and 90 for base defense 

Thirty-five students, an increase of 22 over the 
1939 class, were ordered to report for the Base Defense 
Weapons class beginning on 26 August and graduating on 
23 December 1940. In addition to the 24 regular offi- 
cers assigned to instruction, 11 reserve officers were 
included in the cla . Of the 35 students, 10 were as- 
signed to the Base Defense Section and 25 to the Field 
Artillery Section. 1 ^ 

The policy of sending officers to Army, and Navy 
and civilian schools was continued during 1940, with 
quotas filled at the same schools as the year before. 
At the Coast Artillery School, the Marine Corps was 

an additional seven billets, making a total of 

(j.*) End (Tentative Schedule, Base Defense Weapons 
Class, 1940-41) of CMOS ltr to CINC, l8jun40, 1520-30-120, 

(13) Ibid . 

(14) CMC ltr to'cMCS, 25Jun40, 1520-30-120. CMCS ltr 
to CMC, 19Nov40, 1520-30-120. 


eight , These bliielas «ere filled by officers assigned 
to defense battalions Who were not graduates of the 
Base Defense Weapons Class or of the Army Field Artillery 
School o 15 

1941 Developments 

The Junior and Senior Courses at Marine Corps Schools, 
untouched by the initial expansion of the short-of-war 
period, were discontinued upon completion of the 1940-41 
term„ For the Junior Course, graduation day was set 
ahead to 26 December 1940. The Senior Course graduated 
a month later . Valuable as these advanced courses had 
proved for the professional education of Marine officers, 
shortages of officers to command the growing Marine Corps 
left no alternative to the suspension of the courses. 
So serious was the shortage of officers that in the 2d 
Division it was normal to have only one officer in each 
battalion above the rank of second lieutenant. 

A reduction also took place in the utilization of 
command and staff schools of the other services. L'Ecole 
Superieure de Guerre in Paris had closed in 1939 when 
France went to war. At the Army Command and General Staff 
School and War College the Marine quotas were dropped 
following the 1940 school year. For 194l, only the Naval 

(15) P&P memo 7189, 28jun40, 1 520-10-15 « 

(16) CMCS Itrs to CMC, 26Dec40 and l6Dee40, both 1520- 
30-120. LtGen K E. Roekey Itr to CMC, 6Nov55, HistBr, 



War College and the Array Industrial College were utilized 

for advanced Marine officer training. 

The year 194l saw sweeping changes in the officer 
specialist program as well. Increasing pressures of mobi- 
lization increased the demand for trained specialists at 
a time when Army and Navy schools, the traditional source 
of supply, were not only unable to provide additional 
facilities, but in fact had to reduce Marine quotas in 
order to meet their own requirements. As a result, the 
Marine Corps had to expand its own officer specialist 
training program. This was done by stepping up the out- 
put of the Base Defense Weapons Course and by instituting 
new programs in the specialist schools of the Training 
Center at Quantico. 

Hardly had the 19^0 Base Defense Weapons Class gradu- 
ated, when the Marine Corps announced the officer training 

program to cover 194l and the first half of 1942. Pour 

Base Defense Weapons Classes were projected for the period. 

The first of these began on 20 February and ran for a 
period of 16 weeks, graduating on 10 June. Of the 40 stu- 
dents, 25 were recent Naval Academy graduates, 13 were 
graduates of Platoon Leaders Class. "^ As in the previous 
class, the Field Artillery Section with 22 students, was 



(17) CMC rpts, fiscal 1940 and 194l. 

(18) Encl A to P&P memo 7690, 26Dec40, 1520-30-120. 

(19) Ibid . 

(20) CMC ltr to CMCS, 13Jan4l, 1520-30-120. 


A total of 498 hours of instruction was offered in 
the Field Artillery Section and 496 in the Base Defense 
Weapons Section, a few hours more than in the previous 
course. But in the Field Artillery Section and in the 
antiaircraft course of the Base Defense Weapons Section, 
the hours devoted to purely artillery subjects, in con- 
trast to general subjects, decreased, in the former from 
317 to 245 hours, and in the latter from 217 to 159 hours. 
Only in the coast artillery course was there an increase, 
from 72 to 137 hours. 21 

The second class, beginning on 20 June, was made up 
of 75 students, two-thirds of whom were graduates of the 
Fourth ROC. Once again, the Field Artillery Section was 

favored, with 45 students, the remaining 30 being assigned 

to the Base Defense Artillery Section. The hours of 

instruction were reduced below those offered in the pre- 
vious class, this time to 420. By cutting the hours 
devoted to general military subjects, it was possible to 
increase the time given to artillery instruction. The 
fact that the students had just completed intensive basic 
training in ROC or its equivalent made it possible to 
concentrate on artillery subjects without detriment to 
the general military education of the student. ^ 

(21) MCS pamphlet. "Master Schedule, Base Defense Weapons 
Course, Feb-Jun 1941," 1520-30-120. 

(22) P&P memo 9128, 9May4l, 1520-30-120. 

(23) MCS pamphlet, "Master Schedule, 2d BDWC, Jun-Sep 
1941," 1520-30-120. 








Feb Jun 







































BDS226 114 
FAS253 178 





BDS496 421 
FAS498 420 

(*) Compiled from Master Schedules, BDWC, filed in 


These changes in the Ba^;e Defence Weapons Class /re- 
designed to provide the expanded Marine Corps with ade- 
quate numbers of artillery officers. In other specialist 
fields, rapid expansion created a similar problem, for 
the demands for trained officers far exceeded the supply 
from the small quotas at Army and Navy schools. Unable 
to secure larger quotas, the Marine Corps was obliged to 
provide training facilities of its own. 


A program was developed during the spring of 1941 
to send graduates of Reserve Officers' Courses and the 

Basic School to attend the specialist courses in the 

Training Center, Quant ico. 

At the Engineer School, officer students took an 

informal course in camp construction and all the enlisted 

courses, e.g M demolition, camouflage, refrigeration, 

water distillation and purification. During the summer 

and fall of 194l, five officers from the Fourth ROC and 

six from the Fifth ROC successfully completed the full 

cycle of engineer courses. J The Ordnance School set up 

a separate officers* course, held at the Army Ordnance 

School during 194l, pending the completion of the Marine 

Ordnance School at Quantico. Four officers completed 

this course each month. Motor transport officers were 

trained in the Mechanics 1 course at the Motor Transport 

School, with from six to eight officers, graduates of 


ROC and Basic School, in each class . Amphibian Tractor 

officers received their training at Dunedin, Florida. 

Despite the inauguration by the Marine Corps of its 
own specialist training programs, the old policy of send- 
ing officers to schools of the other services and civilian 

CMC Itr to CHCS, SMay4i, 15-0=30-1^0. 

(25) CO TC MB Quantico ltrs containing graduation lists 
of the EngrSch, 17Jul4l to 4Dec4l, 1520-30-70. BrigGen 
Nelson K. Brown ltr to CMC, 23Jul56, HistBr HQMC. 

(26) P&P memo 9321, 28Jun4l, 1520-30-125* 

(27) CO TC MB Quantico ltrs to CMC, 20Aug4l, 24Nov4l, 


institutions was continued. The Marine Corps had to make 
a few minor modifications to meet reorganizations of these 
schools, particularly those of the Army, but, for the most 
part, the program remained the same. 

The Marine Corps retained its quotas at the Army 
Field Artillery, Signal Corps, Engineer, and Chemical 
Warfare Schools. It lost its quotas at the Infantry, 
Cavalry, and Field Service Schools. New programs were 
started at the Ordnance Service School, and at the Armored 

Force School, where Marine Officers attended the Tank 

Maintenance Course and the Company Officers' Course. * 

Although Marine officers attended many of the same schools, 

the courses had been changed. In place of the old regular 

courses, the Army had substituted short basic courses, 

usually titled Company or Battery Officers courses. 


On 7 December, the Marine Corps was certainly not 
prepared to meet the new demands for trained specialists 
brought about by the coming of war. Not only were there 
still difficulties to iron out in existing schools, but 
the tremendous expansion following the outbreak of war 

(28) CMC rpt, fiscal 194l. 

(29) P&P memo 7742, 9Jan4l, 1520-30-180. P&P memo 9696, 
23Sep4l, 1520-10-15. P&P memo 8022, 22Mar4l, 1520-10-115 . 

(30) Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, William R. Keast, 
The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops - 
United States Army in World War II (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1948), 260-261. Hereinafter cited as 
Palmer , Wiley , and Keast . 


created demands for specialists on an unprecedented 
scale. Still, the groundwork had been laid. The acti- 
vation of the Training Center at Quantico with its 
component schools furnished the pattern for the majority 
of specialist training in the Marine Corps during World 
War II. It was only necessary to perfect and expand 
this system to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding 
Marine Corps for trained specialists. 

The discontinuing of advanced command and staff 
training, unavoidable as it was under the circumstances, 
left a gap in the officer training program. The signifi- 
cance of this gap was to become apparent after Pearl 
Harbor when Marine units went into combat. Then the 
shortage of trained staff officers would require the 
reestablishment of an advanced professional officer 
school o 



Although the main effort of the Marine Corps was 
directed towards the maintenance of the Fleet Marine Force, 

called upon to perform other duties both 
ashore and afloat. In fiscal 19^0 there were Marine de- 
tachments aboard 57 combatant vessels of the Navy of the 
size of cruisers and larger. A total of 3*583* or six 
per cent of the total strength of the Marine Corps was 
assigned to this duty. An additional 14,000 were manning 
Marine and Navy installations ashore. These included 
housekeeping troops at Marine posts and stations and 
guard detachments at naval installations. 

Training at these units emphasized basic infantry 
subjects in an effort to prepare as many individuals as 
possible for FMF duty. For it was the FMF that was 
charged with the execution of the amphibious assignments 
which were the primary mission of the Marine Corps. 

To this end, three programs were established. These 
were annual small arms qualification for all Marines, a 
program of basic individual infantry training as directed 
by Marine Corps Order 146, and small unit training under 
Mobilization Plan A. 

(1) CMC rpt, fiscal 194l. The figure 14,000 is an ap- 
proximation, based on the figures in CMC rpt for Naval 
and Marine activities ashore, less an estimate for 
Marines in primarily a training status. 


The small arms marksmanship program was organized 

to give as many enlisted men and officers as possible 

an opportunity to qualify with rifle and pistol each 

year. This program, which had its origins about the 

turn of the century, continued until 20 January 194l, 

when it was limited to those who had not fired a quali- 

fication course during 1940. As a result, the number 

firing for qualification took a sharp drop. In 1939 > 

approximately 90 per cent of the Marines on active duty 

fired the rifle for record. Two years later, in 19^1* 

this figure had dropped to 60 per cent. That year, 

31 > 755 officers and men fired for record and 24,207, or 

78 per cent of them qualified . For the pistol, the 

figures are not so high. A total of 20,265 officers and 

men fired for record, and of these 15>280 qualified. 

Marine Corps Order 146 called for the training of 
all individuals in basic infantry subjects. To assure 
uniformity in the program, all unit commanders were re- 
quired to submit a training schedule covering the MOO 146 
subjects for each fiscal year c Thus the basic infantry 
training throughout the non-FMF units of the Marine Corps 

was brought under central control, and a large measure of 
uniformity was achieved „ MC0 146 remained in effect 
throughout the "short-of-war" period without modification. 

(2) SecNav dispatch to all MarCorps Activities, 13Jan4l, 
2400-60 o 

(3) CMC rpt, fiscal 1941. 

(4) P&P memo 6598, 27Feb39, 1975-60. 



Pvt, PFC, Field Music 

♦Individual instruction without arms 
♦Individual instruction with the rifle 
♦Close Order Drill, rifle squad 
♦Service rifle caliber .30 
♦Automatic pistol, caliber .45 
♦Automatic rifle, caliber .30 

Thompson submachine gun 

V\ Bo rifle grenade 

Hand grenade 
♦Pack, equipment, and clothing 

Extended Order, rifle squad 

Scouting and Patrolling 
♦Shelter tents 
♦Field sanitation 
♦Personal hygiene 
♦First Aid 

♦Duties of a sentinel on post and over prisoners 
♦Military courtesy 

Patrolling in small wars 


♦Close order drill, rifle platoon 
♦Combat signals 

Extended order, rifle platoon 

Marches, security on the march, and outposts 
♦Interior guard duty 

Combat principles, rifle squad 

Sergeants , all grades 

♦Close order drill, rifle company 
Combat principles, rifle platoon 
Tactics and technique of the rifle company 
Defense and attack of cities, riot duty 

(♦) Only these subjects will be taught to artillery, 
antiaircraft, signal, and chemical units. 

(5) End A to Ibid. 


Realization of the goals set forth in MCO 146 
varied considerably between shore-based and shipboard 
units, depending upon the training requirements of the 
units themselves. In shore based units these require- 
ments were negligible. It did not take very much ad- 
ditional training to prepare a Marine who had already 
completed his recruit training for interior guard duty. 
Personnel assigned to administrative and service duties 
at Marine Corps bases received their training in special- 
ist schools or on the job, so it was not necessary to 
maintain training programs for these duties within the 
unit. As a result, in almost every case, all the MCO 
146 subjects could be covered. 

But training for shipboard detachments was a differ- 
ent story o Marines were assigned to secondary batteries 
and to other duties aboard ship. Training in these 
duties naturally was given first priority, the remaining 
time being devoted to training under MCO 146. In ad- 
dition, the cramped living condictions aboard ship limited 
instruction in most subjects to lecture and prevented 
practical demonstration and drill. 

The training schedule of USS Salt Lake City given 
in Table II is typical of the training in ship's duties 
required of Marine detachments „ 

(6) Training Schedules for fiscal 1941 in 1975-60-20. 



USS Salt Lake City 


Antiaircraft Battery 

Pointing drill 

Runs with plane target 

Sight setting drill 

Loading drill 

Casualty drill 

Safety precautions instruction 

Ammunition supply 

Firing practices 

General Drills 


When plane available 






When prescribed 

General Quarters 

Abandon ship 
Fire and Rescue 
Man overboard 
Landing force 
Surf landing 

As prescribed 






As prescribed 

As prescribed 

Chemical Warfare 

Gas mask instruction 
Gas chamber 

As prescribed 
As prescribed 

(7) CO MarDet USS Salt Lake' City ltr to CMC, 9Aug40, 

1975-60-20 o 


The final training program for non-FMF units was 
prescribed under Mobilization Plan A. Plan A was drawn 
up in 1938 and revised on 1 March 1940. Its purpose was 
to increase the Fleet Marine Force to full authorized 
strength by the "transfer of . . .personnel from other Marine 
Corps activities. . o in order to produce a force of regular 

Marines of sufficient strength to meet a peace time 


emergency. ... 

These "other Marine Corps activities" e.g., Marine 
barracks, were each assigned a specific quota and given 
the designation of the specific FMF unit to which their 
quota would report in event of mobilization. 

Under the 1940 revision, Plan A was expected to 

mobilize a total of 2,663 officers and enlisted who were 

assigned to units as follows a » 

Units to be Augmented 

Hq Go, Serv Co, Transp Co, 

1st and 2d Brigades . . 479 

Units to be Organized 

1st, 2d, 5th, 6th Medical Cos, 7th Marines 

3d Bn, 6th Marines ......... 2, 184 

(8) CMC Itr to CQ Dept of Pac, et al., lMar40. All 
Plan A references in War Plans Section, General Plans, 
folder entitled "Plan As (Revised 1940 ) General File, 
26 Jan 1940 - 22 Apr 1942 ." 

(9) CMC Itr to CG Dept of Pac, 26jan40. 


In preparation under this plan for service with the 
FMF, quotas were "to be organized into squads, or larger 
units, as directed, and trained periodically as such 
combat units, . . . 

"Men assigned to machine gun companies, 8lmm mortar 
platoons and antitank platoons . . ./yiere to be/ given the 
necessary preliminary training and target practice." 

By comparison with the MCO 146 program, commanding 
officers were given a large degree of latitude in the 
training of their Plan A quotas* They did not have to 
submit annual training schedules, nor were they directed 
which subjects to teach. Lacking these requirements, it 
was more difficult to achieve uniformity in training 
throughout the Marine Corps. 

Plan A was never put into operation. With the in- 
creases in authorized strength and the mobilization of 
the Reserve, the 1st and 2d Brigades (later divisions) 
were built up without resort to Plan A. On 3 September 
1940 the quotas were reassigned to "new units of similar 

type, the designation of which will be prescribed by the 

Major General Commandant." 

These new assignments were not forthcoming before 

the attack on Pearl Harbor . In fact, they never were 

(10) Ibid, 

(11) CMC Itr to CG Dept of Pac, et al., 3Sep40, filed 
in folder "Plan As (Revised 194oT~General Pile, 26 Jan 
19^0 - 22 Apr 1942." 


made 6 However, the Plan A contingents continued to 
train as before » And, as many individual members were 
subsequently transferred to the PMF, their training 
under Plan A was by no means a loss* 



w Fleet Marine Force training was primarily concerned 
with the preparation of units for the execution of the 
amphibious mission . It was in the FMF that the trained 
individuals, graduates of the various programs described 
in previous chapters, were brought together in tactical 
units to perfect the teamwork so necessary to the suc- 
cessful amphibious operation. 

During the six years which had elapsed between the 
organization of the FMF in 1933 and the declaration of 
limited national emergency which followed the outbreak 
of war in Europe in 1939, many hours had been spent in 
amphibious training. A progressive system had been 
worked out, beginning with basic individual training, 
progressing through the training of units from the squad 
through the brigade, and culminating in Joint amphibious 
training in conjunction with the Fleet. At each level, 
the tactics and techniques applicable to it were mastered 
before the more advanced stages of training were introduced. 

The annual fleet landing exercise constituted the 
final stage of training , In the twenties there were oc- 
casional exercises, but commitments in the Caribbean and 
China prevented more frequent training. It was not until 
two years after the formation of the FMF that they were 


put on a regular annual basis. Beginning in 1935* the 
Annual Schedules of Operations of the Training Squadron, 
Atlantic Fleet, included fleet landing exercises. Known 
as Flexes, these exercises were held every winter except 
1937 on the Islands of Vieques and Culebra off the coast 
of Puerto Rico. 

It was not possible for all FMF units to participate 
in Flexes. V/ith the exception of 1937, only the 1st 
Brigade, Stationed on the East Coast, took part. In that 
year, the 2d Brigade from the West CoasJb and a provisional 
Army brigade joined the East Coast unit in an exercise 
on the island of San Clemente off the coast of California. 
In other years, minor fleet landing exercises at San 
Clemente gave the 2d Brigade an opportunity for joint 
amphibious training. 

These joint exercises had two main purposes. First, 
they were Intended to develop the coordination and team- 
work so essential to the successful amphibious operation. 
In a joint exercise, all components of a naval attack 
force, the commanders and staffs, the combat troops, the 
logistical organization, the naval gunfire groups, the 
transport elements, and the supporting air forces were 
brought together to train as a team. In addition, the 
joint landing exercise was the closest approximation in 
training to the actual conditions of war. When these 

(1) U, S. Marines and Amphibious War , 45-56 


exercises were conducted as two-sided maneuvers, all 
hands, from the lowliest rifleman to the commanding gen- 
eral were able to test their ability to plan and act on 
the basis of intelligence of the enemy. 

Needless to say, the utmost in realism was essential 
to the realization of both these goals. If the landing 
exercise contained any considerable number of constructive 
troops and supplies, if commanders and staffs were per- 
mitted to formulate plans and take actions without regard 
for the enemy situation as presented in the exercise, if 
troops were not compelled to take the security measures 
vital to survival in combat, then the joint exercise fell 
short of its goal. 

The annual schedule for this progressive training 
was coordinated with the annual fleet employment schedule 
so that the PMP would be ready for participation in the 
fleet landing exercise . A typical training schedule of 
the late thirties was organized by fiscal year quarters 
as follows? 

a) First phase. 1 July - 30 September. 
Individual training small arms firing, combat 
training and firing for smaller units. 

b) Second phase. 1 October - 31 December. 
Combat training of all units up to and including 
the brigade 

c) Third phase. 1 January - 31 March. 1st 
Marine Brigade? Combat training and tactics, 
Fleet Landing Exercise No. 5o...2d Marine Brigade: 
Combat training and tactics of all units up to 
and including the brigade.... 


d) Fourth Phase. 1 April - 30 June. 
1st Marine Brigade: Combat training - annual 
small arms record firing. 2d Marine Brigade: 
Combat training and tactics, landing exercises, 
preparation for annual small arms firing. 

Steady progress was made in training during these 
six years. The progress, however, was toward the limited 
objective of bringing the very limited available forces 
to a state of combat readiness so far as the limited, and 
in many cases, unsatisfactory available equipment would 
permit. In 1939, the ground formations of the FMP to- 
talled only 3,254 officers and men. The only landing 
craft available to them were a few experimental proto- 
types, most of which were unsatisfactory, and there were 
no troop transports except the old Henderson . In spite 
of these deficiencies, enough progress had been made so 
that the FMF did not have to start from scratch when 
8 September 1939 ushered in an era of expansion and en- 
larged responsibilities. 

Fleet Landing Exercise Six 

The executive order of 8 September authorized an 
increase for the Marine Corps from 19,000 to 25,000 offi- 
cers and men to be achieved by 30 June 1940. Of this 
total 4,831 were allotted to the FMF, increasing its 
strength from 3*254 to 8,085 . From this 150 per cent 
increase, six new units were organized. These included 
four defense battalions (the 1st through the 4th), the 
8th Marines and the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. 

(2) CMC rpt, fiscal 1939. 

(3) CMC rpt, fiscal 1940 . 


Training policy for this period does not appear to 
have undergone any major change. The same progressive 
training program, arranged by fiscal year quarters, was 
drawn up, including provision for two landing exercises. 
These were Flex-6 and a minor exercise at San Clemente. 
But these two exercises did not provide training oppor- 
tunities for all PMP units . Only the 1st and 2d Brigades 
and the 2d Defense Battalion were included. In this 
regard, at least, training in the PMP did not keep pace 
with expansion. 

Flex-6, the first joint exercise since the outbreak 
of World War II, was held on the islands of Vieques and 
Culebra and in the surrounding Caribbean waters during 
the winter of 19^0. But it was rather the' last episode 
of a past era than the opening scene ©f a new one. Both 
in general organization of the training program and in 
composition of participating forces, Flex~6 resembled the 
fleet landing exercise of the previous year. With only 
2,200 Marines of the 1st Brigade in the landing force, 
16 combatant skips", on.t cargo ship, and one destroyer 
transport, and only 29 experimental landing craft, Plex-6 
was still a very limited effort. 

(4) Lack of records does not permit an evaluation of 
unit or basic individual training, so this * statement 
applies only to the organization of the over-all program 
and to joint amphibious exercises. For the sam^ reason, 
the discussion to follow will be confined to this last 
phase of training. 


All forces engaged in Plex-6 were under the command 
Rear Admiral Hayne Ellis, Commander Atlantic Fleet. 
Designated the Parragut Attack Force, they included the 
battleships, Texas, New York, and Arkansas, the cruisers, 
Wichi ta, Vincennes , Tuscaloosa , and San Francisco , five 
destroyers, four submarines, the cargo ship Capell a, the 
destroyer transport Manley , and training ship Wyoming . 
The 1st Marine Brigade, made up of Brigade Headquarters, 
the 5th Marines, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, and Brigade 
Tank, Engineer, Transportation, and Chemical Companies, 
comprised the ground element. Air forces included the 
Marine Aircraft Group and a Navy patrol squadron. 

The Marines loaded out of Norfolk and Quantico during 
bhe first two weeks of January 1940. Materiel was loaded 
ard the USS Capella, the only cargo ship available. 

,000- ton capacity was insufficient to stow ail the 
Brigade and Air Group gear, so the overflow of 113 tons 
had to be ■ ' ' aboard battleships and cruisers of thy 

irt was made at combat loading, as 
the gear was to be landed at Culebra and Puerto Rico where 
the Marines were going to establish base camps. 

No troop transports were provided, with the result 
that Marines of the landing force had to be packed aboard 
the already crowded warships and in the Capella . To make 
the voyage to the West Indies under these conditions was 
a hardship to the individual Marine, but far more serious 


was the inability to practice combat loading of troops 
and materiel aboard transports and cargo ships. Thus 
one of the greatest shortcomings of previous landing 
exercises was repeated in Flex-6. 

Arriving at Culebra on 16 January, the 1st Marine 
Brigade landed and set up camp. The next 29 days were 
devoted to unit training ashore, including squad, platoon, 
company, and battalion problems. Infantry units engaged 
in squad landings from rubber boats, rifle and machine-gun 
antiaircraft fire at towed targets, and platoon and com- 
pany combat firing problems. In addition, the antitank 
platoon engaged in an antiboat exercise, firing at towed 
wooden sleds, and 8lmm mortars fired both defensive and 
offensive problems, the former involving defense of a 

landing area, and the latter the support of a battalion 

in the attack. 

Culmination of Infantry training came with four day 
battalion bivouacs on Vieques The Capella carried each 
battalion individually in turn across from Culebra, landed 
them, then withdrew, so that battalion commanders and 
staffs would be able to test their skill in independent 
operations. While ashore on Vieques, the battalions con- 
ducted field exercises and maneuvers controlled by umpires. 

(5) CinCLant, rpt on U S c Fleet Landing Exercise No. 6, 
13 Jun*IO, hereinafter cited as CinCLant Flex-6 Rpt. Unless 
otherwise noted, all Sources SFTiTes, HistBr, 


The 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, conducted 13 days 
of firing, using all methods of terrestrial observation, 
and a battalion survey problem using an aerial photograph 
mosaic. Landing exercises included a full strength bat- 
tery landing on Vieques, followed by four days of train- 
ing ashore. The four days were spent in reconnaissance 
for and occupation of a position, simulated fir^ in sup- 
port of an infantry attack, a night displacement to new 
positions in support of a developing attack, and support 
of this attack with scheduled and observed fires. 

Training for other units was of a similar nature. 
The tank company fired at stationary and moving targets 
and practiced loading and landing tanks from lighters. 
The Chemical Company fired their 4.2 mortars, prepared 
and fired land mines, and made practice landings. The 
Land Transportation Company engaged in intensive prac- 
tice in handling vehicles from ship to shore. 

The culmination of the preliminary training phase 
came on 15 February with a full Brigade landing. Called 
the "Makee Learn Problem, " it was designed to familiarize 
all hands with the techniques of ship-to-shore movement. 
The 1st and 2d Battalions, 5th Marines, each supported 
by a platoon of tanks, landed on Culebra and advanced to 
seize a force beachhead line. The 1st Battalion, 10th 
Marines, landed one battery on Luis Pena Cay, a small 
adjacent island, and two batteries on Culebra, and went 
(6) CG IstMarBrig, rpt on Plex-6 to CMC, 29Apr40. 


into position to deliver supporting fires. Except for 
the landing of two platoons of the left flank assault 
company in inverse order, and a shortage of boats for 
the artillery, the problem was carried out very smoothly. 7 

With the completion of the preliminary training 
phase, all hands turned to the amphibious maneuvers which 
were the main purpose of Flex-6. In an effort to achieve 
as much realism as possible, a problem was set up on the 
assumption that an enemy power, Red, was attempting to 
gain control of the Caribbean,, Red bases at Jamaica and 
Trinidad had been reinforced and skeleton forces landed 
at Vieques, Culebra, and St. Thomas. The Red commander 
had been directed to hold the islands at all costs to 
prevent the friendly (Blue) forces from exploiting 
Vieques Sound as a major fleet base. (See maps in back). 

Blue forces, in the execution of their war plans, 
moved to gain control of the Caribbean by establishing a 
system of defensive positions on which to base naval 
forces. At the time ©f the occupation of Vieques, 
Culebra, and St. Thomas by Red, the 1st Marine Brigade 
was en route to the Caribbean training area aboard vessels 
of the Atlantic Squadron. This force was directed to 
seize the Red-occupied islands and to secure Vieques 
Sound as a major naval base. 

(7) Rpt of critique, "Fleet Exercise Number 6, Makee 
Learn Problem, Culebra." 


This general situation was drawn up to provide a 
realistic background for the actual landing exercises. 
These were two in number, one on Vieques and the other 
on Culebra, to represent the attack by Blue forces to 
capture these islands from Red. 

The Blue Forces for the Vieques exercise were com- 
manded by Rear Admiral Ellis and included an offshore 
fire support group of three battleships, an inshore fire 
support group of four destroyers, a submarine group, an 
air group made up of Naval Patrol Squadron 33, a transport 
group including the Wyoming , Capella , and Manley , and a 


landing force. 

Brigadier General H. M c Smith, commander landing 
force, divided his force into three groups. The landing 
group, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A„ H 8 Noble, 
included the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, Company A, 5th 
Marines, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines (less Battery A), 
1st Chemical Company, 1st Tank Company, and an Engineer 
Detachment c The Air element, Lieutenant Colonel Field 
Harris, consisted of the 1st Marine Air Group, less de- 
tachment assigned to Red. Major Ho B c Liversedge's 
3d Battalion, 5th Marines, constituted the reserve group." 

Colonel Charles D. Barrett's Red forces included 
Headquarters Company, 5th Marines, 1st Battalion, 5th 
Marines (less Company A), Battery A, 10th Marines, 1st 

(8) Commander, Farragut Attack Force, Annel J, Pt III 
(OpOrder) to Campaign Order 4-40, l4Feb40. 

(9) Landing Force Op Order 1-40, 2Feb^0, 


Engineer Company, a piatoon of the 1st Tank Company, de- 
tachments of the 1st Chemical and Motor Transport Companies 
and 14 aircraft of the 1st Marine Aircraft Group. In ad- 
dition, the Red commander was given the following simulated 
weapons: four 6-inch naval guns, four 3-inch antiaircraft 
guns, 16 ,50-caliber machine guns, four mobile searchlights 
and sound locators, land mines sufficient for a 200 yard 
square area, enough TNT for a 200-yard -square booby trap, 
and all types of wire. 

Planning by both sides was an integral part of the 
maneuvers and was intended to be as realistic as possible. 
But certain artificialities could not be avoided, particu- 
larly on the Blue side. Because the unit training program 
had ended only seven days before D-Day, it was impossible 
to emplace Red forces on Vieques far enough in advance to 
permit the landing plan to be developed from intelligence 
gained from actual enemy positions. As a result, beaches 
were selected and units assigned missions in the attack 
without regard for actual enemy dispositions ashore. 

The Blue Landing Force Order, issued on 2 February, 
called for a main landing by 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
reinforced on beaches on the south shore of the island. 
Employing two companies in assault and one in reserve, 
the battalion was to seize the Force Beachhead Line and 

(10) Defense Force Op Order 1-40, 2Feb40 


be prepared for further advance on order go seize the 
airfield. At H-minus 3 hours, Company A, 5th Marines, 
Reinforced, was to land from rubber boats 2,000 yards 
west of the main beaches, advance inland to seize Pole 
Hill, and be prepared to support the main landing by 
fire and movement. 

After this operation order had been issued, Blue 
air and surface forces began reconnaissance of Vieques. 
Aircraft flew photo missions over the island, and sub- 
marines took photographs of the landing beaches while 
submerged at periscope depth. Two patrols landed from 
submarines on the night of 20 February. Some information 
was gathered about the beaches which had already been 
designated for the landing, but neither the patrols nor 

the aircraft were able to furnish the Blue commander 

with any information concerning Red defenses. 

The Red dispositions that Blue reconnaissance failed 

to discover were based on two factors. First, the sparse 

forces available to Red made a defense of the beaches 

impractical. Second, the Red mission, to deny Vieques 

Sound to Blue as a major fleet anchorage, meant that it 

was only necessary for him to maintain himself in an 

easily defensible position from which to bring to bear 

(11) Landing Force Op Order 1-40, 2Feb40. 

(12) Rpt of Critique, Flex-6 Landing Exercise No. 1, 
Vieques, 20-23Feb40. 


air power and land-based artillery . With these two con- 
siderations in mind, Red forces withdrew into very strong 
natural defense positions in the eastern end of Vieques 

and emplaced their 6-inch guns to cover the adjacent 


waters of the Sound . "* 

In addition to the actual troop dispositions, there 
was a "constructive" airfield within the Red perimeter on 
the eastern end of the island . It was the creation of 
this field by the chief umpire which made the Red plan 
of defense possible , for it provided the air base from 
which aircraft could operate to deny Vieques Sound to 
Blue. Obviously, the Blue airfield could not detect this 
constructive field „ Attack plans were accordingly drawn 
to seize the actual airfield on the island. 

When it became apparent that the Blue commander was 
unaware of the dispositions of Red and had drawn up his 
landing plan in ignorance of enemy positions, the chief 
umpire originated a dispatch from the 1st Marine Air Group, 
revealing Red positions. In response to the new infor- 
mation, Blue drew up an alternate plan calling for the 
landing of only two companies of infantry to seal off the 
causeways leading to the eastern end of the island. 
Artillery was also to land and, in conjunction with naval 
gunfire ships, destroy the Red positions. But for train- 
ing purposes, the original landing plan was executed so 

(13) Defense Force Op Order 1-40, 2Feb40. Rpt of Critique, 
Flex-6, Problem 1. 


that the full dress landing operation could be carried 

out. The Brigade Commander , Brigadier General H M. 

Smith, expressed the reaction of the commanders and 

staffs when he remarked? 

The unexpected receipt from the Chief Umpire 
of complete information concerning Red tended 
to take the heart out of the problem. . . .Not 
only was it desired to test all of the major 
operating agencies of both floating and shore 
forces in team action, but the skill of the 
various commanders. . . .And since every effort 
was directed at operating as would be done in 
war the problem should have been allowed to 
progress as it would have under such conditions. 
Otherwise a chart maneuver would suffice. 

With the decision to execute the original plan, 
the attack force approached Culebra on 22 February. In 
the early hours of 23 February, Manley debarked Company A 
in rubber boats c Landing slightly out of position, the 
company was still able to advance without opposition to 
capture Pole Hill. 

At 0515* troops of the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 
went over the side into waiting ships' boats to make the 
main landing. Debarkation and movement of boats to as- 
sembly areas went off smoothly, and at about 0600, the 
leading wave cros^d the line of departure. At about 
1,000 yards from the beach, the control boat of the first 
wave veered to starboard, pulling the whole wave off 
course, with the result that it landed to the east of the 
designated beaches. The fault of poorly trained naval 
personnel, this error pointed up the necessity for 


thorough team training for all members of the landing 
team. Red's decision not to defend the beaches permitted 
the Blue assault units to rectify the landing error by 
shifting along the shore . 

The movement inland to seize the force beachhead 
line was carried out swiftly and smoothly. But in view 
of the fact that the intention of Red not to contest the 
movement was known to the attackers, this part of the 
exercise was singularly lacking in realism. No further 
advance was planned, so the seizure of the force beach- 
head line marked the end of the infantry phase of the 

The artillery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, less 
one battery, was landed from tank lighters and set up on 
the beach ready to fire. All these operations were 
carried out smoothly, but there was no opportunity to 

displace forward or to train in the ammunition supply 


problems which would be encountered in an actual operation. 

Training in the logistics aspects of an amphibious 
landing was extremely limited. It was not possible to 
carry out the build up of supplies ashore, nor was there 
sufficient transportation to move supplies forward to 
front line units. Shortages of everything, ships, sup- 
plies, men, and time prevented it. Logistics was confined 
to the operations necessary to maintain the landing force 

(14) Rpt of Critique, Flex-6, Problem 1. 


ashore for one day. Shore and beach parties landed, 

but they had nothing to do, as no supplies were landed 

other than those carried by the troops. 

Medical training was more complete. First aid 
stations were set up in positions protected from enemy 
gunfire and weather. Casualties in a logical variety 
were tagged and evacuated to the beach. At that point, 
the medical detail of the beach party loaded casualties 
aboard ambulance boats for evacuation to the designated 
hospital ship, where they were taken aboard using the 
litter hoistc 16 

Problem No. 2, the attack on Culebra, was planned 
as a part of the over-all naval exercise involving the 
securing of Vieques Sound as a fleet anchorage. The 
Blue and Red forces were about the same in strength and 
composition as in Problem No. 1. Again the Blue attackers 
had a fleet of three battleships organized as an offshore 
fire support group, four destroyers acting as an inshore 
fire support group, and a transport group made up of the 
Wyoming, Capella , and Manley . The landing force was of 
the same strength as in the previous problem, but this 
time the troops who had been defenders before exchanged 
allegiance with an equal number of the landing force 

thus assuring that all troops would have experience in 

making a landing. ' 

(15) Ibid.; and Landing Force Admin Order 2-40, 2Feb40. 

(16) Rpt of Critique, Flex-6. 

(17) Commander Farragut Attack Force, Annex K, Part III, 
to Campaign Order 4-40, 26Feb40. 


The Blue Landing group, commanded by Lieutenant 
Colonel C. D. Barrett, included the 1st Battalion, 5th 
Marines, Company E, 5th Marines, 1st Battalion, 10th 
Marines, less Battery B, the 1st Chemical and 1st Engi- 
neer Companies, both less detachments assigned to Red, 
and the 1st Tank Company, less the 2d Platoon. The Air 
consisted of the 1st Marine Aircraft Group, less a de- 
tachment, and the brigade reserve was made up of the 

i ft 
3d Battalion, 5th Marines/ 

Lieutenant Colonel A. H c Noble's defense force was 
made up of Headquarters Company, 5th Marines, 2d Battalion, 
5th Marines, less Company E, Battery B, 10th Marines, 
2d Platoon, 1st Tank Company, and detachments of 1st 
Chemical, Motor Transport, and Engineer Companies. In 
addition, the Red commander had 15 aircraft, one destroyer, 
two submarines, and the following simulated forces i four 
6- inch guns, four 3- inch antiaircraft guns, 16 .50-caliber 
antiaircraft machine guns, and land mines and TNT. r 

Plans for both sides were generally similar to those 
employed in Problem 1 The Blue attackers intended to 
make a preliminary landing on the northeastern tip and 
their main landing on beaches located on the southeastern 
tip of the island. Landing at H -minus 4 hours from rubber 
boats, Company E was to push inland to seize Dolphin Head, 
a hill dominating the main landing beaches, and link up 

(18) Landing Force Op Order 2=40, 29Feb40 

(19) Defense Force Op Order 2-40, 2Feb40. 


with the main landing force , 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 
to establish the force beachhead line. Prom this posi- 
tion, a line running across the eastern end of the island, 

the landing force was to advance to clear the enemy from 

the rest of the island. 

The Red commander on Culebra, like his counterpart 
on Vieques, was charged with the mission of refusing 
Vieques Sound to Blue as a fleet anchorage. His solution 
to the tactical problem was generally the same. Selecting 
the best natural defensive position on the island to de- 
ploy his limited force, Lieutenant Colonel Noble emplaced 
his 6-inch guns there in position to bring Vieques Sound 
under fire. The terrain selected by Red for his defense 
was the Mt. Resaca area in the center of the island. As 
the position could be approached from east or west, two 
defensive lines, covering the approaches from both direc- 
tions were prepared, with the defending force in a position 
to man either one, depending on the direction of the attack. 
Not content merely to conduct a passive defense of an 
inland stronghold, Lieutenant Colonel Noble planned to 
take all suitable landing beaches under artillery and 
mortar fire c In addition, a small delaying force, consist- 
ing of tanks and four machine guns was placed in a position 

to meet an advance from either direction. 

(20) Attack Force Op Order 2-40, 2Peb40. 

(21) Defense Force Op Order 2-40, 2Feb40. 


The Blue Attack Force put to sea on 4 March to begin 
the Culebra problem. During the night, reconnaissance 
patrols landed on the island from a destroyer. All but 
one man were captured, and he was unable to gather any 
information about enemy positions. 

On D-Day, 7 March, Company E embarked in rubber boats 
and was towed inshore to make the preliminary landing. 
The boats were towed in by a circuitous route, so Company E 
did not land until 0430, two hours late. The delay turned 
out to the invaders' advantage, however, for Red was unable 
to organize a. counterattack before the main Blue force 
landed, and Company E was able to reach its objective 
unopposed. As one of the umpires commented, "A Red 

counterattack. . .might have made Easy Company mighty uneasy 

during the four hours it had to wait on the main attack. 

At 0455 the first troops of the main landing force 

went over the side into waiting landing boats. By 0630, 

the first wave of the two assault companies, Company C 

on the left and B on the right, crossed the line of 

departure. The whole ship- to- shore movement was carried 

out very smoothly and showed a marked improvement over 

Problem 1. The assault companies, supported by 8lmm 

mortars and a platoon each of machine guns from Company D, 

advanced rapidly inland to seize the high ground along the 

0-1 line at 0715 . At this point, the reserve company, 

Company A, passed through Company B to continue the attack 

(22) Col P. A. del Valle, in Rpt of Critique, Plex-6, 
Problem 2. 


In conjunction with Company C on the left. By 0830 the 

0-2 line was reached, and by 0915, assault elements had 

reached the Brigade Beachhead Line. 

The only Red opposition to the landing was made by 
tanks in two attacks. The first attack at 0805, reached 
the beach before it was stopped by Blue tanks which had 
just landed. An hour later, another attack was launched 
at the battalion CP and reserve company. Blue tanks once 
again intervened, forcing the Red tanks to withdraw. 

After reorganizing, the Blue forces resumed the 
attack. Intelligence concerning enemy positions had not 
been provided the regimental commander by brigade, nor 
had he been able to discover these positions using his 
own sources. It was not until Blue, advancing with three 
companies in line and one in reserve, had moved west 
along the main axis of the island for about 800 yar< 
that enemy resistance was encountered. At this point, 
advance elements came under severe machine gun and sm?i.l 
arms fire from the Red MLR on Mt, Resaca. The regimental 
commander then committed his reserve battalion. A fj 
assault on Mt. Resaca was planned, using the third bat- 
talion on the right to make the main effort and Companies 
A and B on the left. Supporting naval gunfire, mortar, 
and artillery fire was planned for 1330. The exercise 


was terminated before the attack was made. 

(23) Rpt of Critique, Plex-6, Problem 2. 

(24) Ibid. 


At the conclusion of Flex-6, the 1st Marine Brigade 
had achieved a very satisfactory state of training under 
existing conditions. It was not possible to learn combat 
loading of nonexistent transports, nor could troops prac- 
tice landing from imaginary landing craft. Commanders 
and staffs could not be trained in the control of large 
units in large scale operations when there were only 
2,244 officers and men in the whole 1st Brigade. But 
all hands had demonstrated considerable skill in bat- 
talion size landings, made from combat ships in 3tahdard 
ships' boats. 

Minor Landing Exercise, San Clemente Island, May- June 

Joint amphibious training for PMP units on the west 
coast was conducted in conjunction with Pacific Fleet 
elements at San Clemente from 27 May to 1 June 1940. 
Admiral Richardson, Commander in Chief U. S. Fleet, issued 
the basic directive for the exercise, designating CO, 
Battleship Division Five as the naval attack force com- 
mander and Major General Clayton B e Vogel, commanding 

general of the 2d Marine Brigade as the commander of the 

landing force. 

(25) This whole section is taken from "Comments, Recom- 
mendations, and General Observations of Umpires and 
Observers, Fl<*et Landing Exercise, San Clemente Island, 
27 May-1 June 1940," filed under 2dMarDiv, HistBr, HQMC. 


These two commanders and their staffs drew up four 
operation plans, the preferred plan complete with all 
annexes, but the alternate plans with only the basic 
document. The preferred plan was selected, but before 
it could be put into effect it had to be modified because 
of the unexpected retention of the Pacific Fleet in 
Hawaiian waters. Only six combatant vessels, four de- 
stroyers and two mine sweepers, remained in the attack 
force. Two troop transports were eliminated, necessi- 
tating the leaving behind of 10 per cent of the enlisted 
strength of the landing force. 

The plan as modified called for an amphibious land- 
ing on Sam Clemente by the 2d Marine Brigade. Composed 
of the 6th Marines at two-battalion strength, 2d Battalion, 
10th Marines, and Brigade troops, the 2d Brigade had a 
strength of approximately 2,400 officers and men. The 
2d Defense Battalion, 750 strong and reinforced by a few 
aircraft, made up the defending force, marking the first 
participation by a defense battalion in a fleet landing 

The defending force took up positions on San Clemente 
prior to the beginning of the exercise on 27 May. Paced 
with the problem of defending a large area with a limited 

(26) Actual strength figure is not available. This 
approxmiation made by taking strength figure for 30 June 
1940, given in CMC rpt, fiscal 1940 and subtracting 10 
per cent of enlisted strength to account for those left 


force, the defense force commander emplaced his 5-inch 
seacoast guns and his 3-inch antiaircraft guns inland in 
positions from which they could fire missions against 
land targets as well as those in the air and on the sea. 
Antiaircraft machine guns were also emplaced to fire 
both on air and ground targets. 

On the opening night of the exercise, the attackers 
landed reconnaissance patrols from a destroyer in rubber 
boats. The mission ended in failure when all patrol 
members were captured before they could reembark. Aerial 
reconnaissance was more successful in spotting defense 
positions, permitting the landing force commander to gain 
a fairly accurate picture of the defenses, which were 
concentrated in the northern part of the island. But he 
was not able to adapt his scheme of maneuver to this 
information. For reasons beyond his control, the attack 
force commander decided to land all troops at Northwest 
Harbor . 

The attack force sailed from San Diego on 27 May 
and approached San Clemente during the night. Although 
all ships were blacked out, an alert defending force 
picked up the approaching vessels with searchlights. 
Arriving off the landing beaches before dawn, the ships 
took up their positions in the transport and fire support 
areas. With the coming of daylight, the ship-to-shore 
movement got under way and proceeded smoothly, in spite 
of a shortage of boats which dictated landing battalions 


in column instead of abreast. For the same reason, the 
landing of artillery and reserve forces had to be started 
sooner than planned, so that they could all be brought 
ashore in time to participate in the exercise. As a 
result, artillerymen were dragging their pieces across 
the beach almost in the faces of the defending forces. 

The advance inland was delayed by the umpires until 
the few available boats could land enough troops to begin 
the attack . The attacking troops themselves demonstrated 
a frequent indifference to the realities of combat. They 
failed to take advantage of cover, even continuing to 
advance in regular formation under machine-gun fire. 
There was also a tendency to disregard machine guns firing 
from the flanks. All echelons overestimated the speed 
with which enemy automatic weapons could be neutralized. 

A final artificiality occurred in the handling of 
casualties. Although casualties were assessed by the 
umpires, unit commanders continued to operate with all 
their troops, with the result that they frequently pushed 
their units beyond their capabilities. 

For supporting units, the San Clemente exercise was 
of such limited size and contained so many "constructive" 
elements that it offered very little training. Supply 
actually landed was limited to rations, water, and rifle 
ammunition. All other ammunition was "constructive." 
Medical training was similarly handicapped. No casualties 


were evacuated from shore to ship because of the landing 
craft shortage, and, on the battlefield, simulated casual- 
ties were permitted to walk to the rear. As a result, 
corpsmen got little training in the evacuation of casual- 
ties to aid stations. Lack of motor transportation 
prevented further evacuation from aid stations to the 

Communications training, for the defense force at 
least, was more satisfactory. The defenders installed a 
complete wire net connecting their command posts, obser- 
vation posts, and gun positions, giving communications 
personnel good training in planning, installing, and 
operating this type of system. 

Fall of France - Further Expansion and New Training 

The crisis brought on by the fall of France served 

to lend new urgency to Marine Corps expansion. For the 

units of the FMF were inadequate to discharge the new 

missions assigned to them. The proposed operations 

against Martinique and the Azores, both of which called 

for Marine landing forces, pointed up the necessity for 

a much stronger FMF. On 30 June 19^0, the FMF (Ground) 

had a strength of only 8,236. The 1st Brigade, made up 

of the 5th Marines, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, and 

Brigade troops, accounted for 2,609 of the total. On 

the west coast, the 2d Brigade included 2,654 officers 


and men divided among the 6th and 8th Marines, both with 
only tiro battalions, the 2d, Battalion, 10th Marines, and 
brigade troops. The remaining 2,973 officers and enlisted 

in the FMF were organized into the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th 


Defense Battalions. 

x To fulfill its responsibilities during this period, 
the Marine Corps planned to expand the FMF in two stage;.. 
The first stage, to be completed b,v 1 J 
see the two existing brigades expanded to full wartj i 
strength. By the same dai . thre< additional defence- 
battalions word to be organized j bringing the total to 


The second stage saw the two brigades expanded to 
triangular divisions. Organized on 1 February with an 
authorized strength of 13,800, the 1st and 2d Divisions 
totalled 7,445 and 8,197 respectively. Neither division 
could be built up to full strength under existing per- 
sonnel ceilings. Under the authorized ceiling of 50,000, 
the Marine Corps was only able to muster 67 per cent of 
;ach division by 30 June 1941. The defense battalions 
.;:!•: in better sh ■ . ill but on of the six reported 
- ■ imately their fu I : . ai bhorj ; , the 

/th of the FMF from February 1940 to February 1941 had 

(27) CMC rpt, fiscal . > ! ;0. 

(28) Memo to CNO, Availability and Readiness of Marin 
Expeditionary Forces, 110ct40. 

been phenomenal. In one year it had increased from 6,875 
to 20, 899. 29 

With expansion came larger training burdens. The 
organization of new units and the expansion of old ones 
called for a greater effort in small unit training, while 
the jump from brigade to division, and even to corps 
size when combined with the Army during maneuvers, pre- 
sented commanders and staffs new tactical and logistical 
problems involved in the handling of the larger units. 

Ironically, the very urgent need to complete train- 
ing at all levels impeded the realization of that goal. 
For units of the PMP which were assigned to specific 
operations engaged in joint amphibious exercises before 
they had completed the more elementary phases of the 
progressive training cycle. Other units were assigned 
garrison duties at remote outposts. The resulting dis- 
persal prevented the participation of some units in joint 
exercises. In addition, the long periods spent aboard 
ship and in camp construction interfered further with 
training schedules. 

(29) Ibid.; and Memo for RAdm Horne, Proposed Strength 
of the Marine Corps, 28Peb4l, HQMC. Strength figures 
from muster rolls in Unit Diary Section, HQMC. 


Fleet Land ing E::yr-±j:e Seven 

Training of the 1st Brigade on the east coast illus- 
trated many of these difficulties."' As in previous years, 
training was organized in a progressiva cycle, culminating 
in a fleet landing exercise. During the summer months., 
the 1st Brigade was under alert for the Martinique operation 
In September, it sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be in 
a better position to carry out that mission. 

The move to Guantanamo, whatever else it may have 
accomplished, did not facilitate the training of the 1st 
Marine Prlgade. For the first month, brigade personnel 
spent almost all of their time constructing a base ca;no. 
During the next two months, base camp construction cm 
tineed, combined with rehearsals ashore and afloat for 
the Martinique operation. January 1941 was spent in pre- 
paration for Flex-7 and in reorganizing the brigade as a 
division. These various activities constituted a serious 
interruption of training in small unit tactics at a tims 
when this typo of training was badly needed. ' 

(30) The minor fleet landing exercise scheduled for June 
at San Clemente was cancelled when the 6th Marines departed 
for Iceland aboard the only available transports. There 

is no information available concerning other phases of 
training for the 2d Division or the 1st, 2d, or 6th Defense 
Battalions stationed on the west coast for all or part of 
19*U • 

(31) Interview MajGen D. R. Nirnmer, with LtCo.1 R. D. Heinl, 
HApr49, HistBr, HQMC. 

(32) IstMarDiv Rpt of Readiness, 5Sep4l, HistBr, HQMC. 


y], -. m ■ itta l.on, which ; 'oh oth - maj< 
b on tli- ;ast coast , was not ine Lud : in 
to participate did not >•■ suit l?r< m 
Marine Corps indifference to its training progress. 

is April 1940, the Commandant directed the Commanding 
General FMF to arrange for the movement of the 4th Defense 
Battalion to Guantanamo and its inclusion in FlexVf. He 
proposed that the defense battalion be sot up in defense 
of the naval base at Guantanamo to oppose a landing by 

the 1st Marine Brigade. The move to Guantanamo was made, 

but participation in Flex-7 was not approved. 

The last of the numbered fleet landing exercises, 
Flex-7 was held in the Culebra area during late January 
and. early February 1941. This was not only the last but 
also the largest of the Flexes both in numbers and in 
types of forces represented. The Marine contingent was 
more than twice as large as the year before. The Navy,, 
too, made a larger contribution, furnishing aircraft 
carriers and troop transports for the first time in a 
fleet landing exercise. The Army, demonstrating an inter- 
est for the first time since 1937, contributed two bat- 
talion combat teams from the 1st Infantry Division. With 
these quantitative and qualitative increases, the units 
participating in Flex-7 more nearly represented than in 
any previous training exercise the forces which would 

(33) CMC ltr to CG FMF, lApr40; CG FMF ltr to COMINCH, 
i£ ^pr40. No records have been discovered to explain 
disapproval of participation in Flex-7. 


actually be employed in the amphibious operations of 
World War II . 

On the other side of the ledger, must be noted the 
fact that a smaller percentage of available Marines 
participated in Flex-7 than in the landing exercise of 
the previous year* With a strength of 7*445 on 1 February 
1941, the 1st Marine Division sent only 5,288 or 72 per 

cent to Culebra, compared with an 86 per cent partici- 

^ ^4 
pation in Flex-6 J This was due to the fact that the 

Navy was unable to transport a larger number. It had 
increased its transport facilities, but the growth of 
the Marine Corps and inclusion of the Army outweighed 
this increase o Thus Marine mobilization was outrunning 
the ability of the Navy and Marine Corps to provide 
training facilities . 

Another retrogression was the failure to represent 
the enemy . Previous Flexes had been organized as two- 
sided maneuvers, with both offensive and defensive forces 
represented o Although these exercises were not all that 
could be desired in realism, at least the effort was 
made, Flex-7, on the other hand, was not a two-sided 
maneuver but rather a large scale ship to shore exercise. 
As such, it was valuable for training in the mechanics 
of amphibious landings It could not give commanders 

(34) Flex-7 Rpts do not record the number of Marines 
participating o Figure compiled by subtracting the 
strength of units not included in the exercise from 
the total strength of the division Figures from muster 
rolls, filed in Unit Diary Section, H0MC o 


experience in evaluating intelligence of the enemy and in 
acting upon the results, nor could it reproduce for all 
ranks anything resembling the conditions of the battlefield 

The forces participating in Flex-7 were organized as 
a naval attack force. Three battleships, nine cruisers, 
and five destroyers constituted four fire support groups, 
while two aircraft carriers made up an air support group. 
There were five transports in the transport group, and a 
destroyer transport group made up of three ships. In 
addition, there were a screening group, control and sal- 
vage group, and mine sweeping group. * 

The Landing Force, embarked aboard the vessels of 
the transport group, included the Marine Landing Group, 
the Army Landing Group, Air Group, Mobile Landing Group, 
and Force Reserve . The Marine Landing Group was made up 
of the 5th Marines, less the 3d Battalion, and the 1st 
Battalion, 11th Marines „ These troops were organized 
into two combat teams, each built around an infantry 
battalion and including a field artillery battery and 
other supporting groups. The Army Landing Group included 
two similarly organized combat teams built around a bat- 
talion of the 16th Infantry and a battalion of the 18th 
Infantry. Organized as the Mobile Landing Group were 
three reinforced companies of the 7th Marines aboard 

(35) Attack Force Op Plan 2-4l, l4jan4l; LANTFlt, 
Transport Group Op Order l-4l, lFeb4l Unless other- 
wise cited, Flex~7 records are in Div P&P Files, Box 4l, 
HistBr, HQMCo 


destroyer transports . The third combat team of the 5th 
Marines was held in Force reserve., The 1st Marine Air 
Group, which comprised the Air of the Landing Force, 
flew from land bases to join the Navy fliers from the 
carriers in providing air support. 

The training program for Flex-7 included a prelimi- 
nary training period and five landing exercises, divided 
into three phases . Phase One included two regimental 
size landings, one by the Marines and one by the Army 
with Marine reinforcement . Phase Two was a repetition 
of Phase One using different beaches, and Phase Three was 
a brigade size landing including the whole landing force. ' 

The preliminary training period consisted mostly of 
indoctrination for the Army in the mechanics of ship-to- 
shore movement. These activities continued until 31 Janu- 
ary, five days before the first landing exercise. 

With only five days between the end of preliminary 
training and the beginning of landing exercises, there 
was no opportunity for the preparation of defenses 
ashore, with the result that the attacking forces could 
not develop a picture of the enemy situation on which 
to base their plans „ Reconnaissance personnel, com- 
manders, and staffs were deprived of the opportunity for 
realistic training in the jobs they would have to perform 
in actual combat. 

(36) Landing Force Op Order 3-41 , 15Jan4l 

(37) CG IstMarDiv, Flex-7, 6Mar4l„ 

(38) CG IstMarDiv, Flex-7, Rpt. 


On 4 February, phase one of the landing exercises 
got under way. The landings conducted during this phase 
took place on the Firewood Bay and Seine Bay beaches 
located on the west coast of Culebra. These beaches 
were separated by about 2,000 yards. Lying offshore 
between the two beaches was the small island of Luis 
Pena Cay. The Landing Force order called for one com- 
pany of the Mobile Landing Group to land on Luis Pena at 
H-3 hours, followed by a two CT main landing, with one 
CT going ashore on each beach . Following the landing, 
the CT's were to make contact, then advance to seize the 
0-1 and force beachhead lines. 

On 4 February, the Marines carried out the Phase 
One plan, with Company E, 7th Marines, making the prelimi- 
nary landing and CT's 1 and 2 acting as the main landing 
force. They reembarked the next day, and on the sixth, 
the Army executed the same exercise. Once again, Company E, 
7th Marines, made the preliminary landing, while CT's 4 
and 5 carried out main landings similar to those of CT's 
1 and 2 two days previously. 

Phase Two, irtilch was similar to Phase One, saw a 
change of locale to the Mosquito Bay beaches on the south- 
western end of the island. The scheme of maneuver employed 
in this exercise called for a main landing by two CT's, 

(39) Landing Force Op Order 3-4l, 15Jan4l. 

(40) COMLANFOR Mailgram to LANFOR, 2Feb4l. IstlnfDiv 
Task Force Field Order 7, 2Feb4l e 


preceded by a landing of one company of the Mobile Landing 
Group on Luis Pena Cay. In addition, the other two com- 
panies of the Mobile Landing Group were to stage a diver- 
sionary landing at Seine Bay, As in Phase One, the landing 
force was to advance inland to occupy the 0-1 and Force 
Beachhead Lines. Both the Marine »nd Army Landing Groups 
carried out exercises in accord with this plan. In the 

case of the Marines, there was a substitution of CT 3, 

formerly in Force reserve, for CT 2. 

The final phase consisted of a landing by the whole 

landing force organized as a division. But as the Marine 

and Array landing groups composing this special division 

amounted only to a regiment apiece, the landing exercise 

was actually of brigade rather than division size. The 

scheme of maneuver was a combination of those used in the 

two other phases, with the Army Landing Group going ashore 

at Mosquito Bay and the Marines at Firewood and Seine 

Bays. The Mobile Landing Group landed one company on 

Luis Pena Cay to support the main landing and the two 

others on Culebra as a diversion „ 

These landing exercises afforded valuable training 
in ship-to-shore movement, in the handling of small craft, 
and in the establishment and operation of command instal- 
lations. But the operations were too close together to 

(41) IstlnfDiv Task Force Field Order 8. 9Feb4l. 
COMLANFOR dispatch to COMMARLANGRP, 7Feb4l. 

(42) IstlnfDiv Task Force Field Order 9, 10Feb4l. 
COMSPECDIV mailgram to SPECDXV, 10Feb4l. 


permit landing of combat equipment or for extended attack 
inland, nor was there time to assemble commanders and 
staffs of lower echelons for critiques of the exercises. 
A further impediment to training was the shortage of land- 
ing craft which prevented the movement of more than two 
CT's at a time and made the landing of reserves almost 
impossible. In one instance, the reserve CT began landing 
at 1500 ; in another it began landing piecemeal at 1830. 

The logistics aspects of Flex-7 were hampered by- 
shortages of time, of personnel, and of materiel. Lack 
of time to continue the advance inland from the beaches 
prevented any extended exercise in logistics problems 
ashore, so logistics plans were made only for the estab- 
lishment of engineer, signal, and ammunition dumps and 

for the re supply of one unit of fire for each problem. 

Personnel shortages, which existed in the Marine 
shore parties, were overcome by assigning personnel from 
the 7th and 11th Marines to shore party duty. This ex- 
pedient served to weaken combat units, depriving them of 
essential troops. It also deprived the combat personnel 

(43) These observations are those of MajGen H. M. Smith, 
CG, IstMarDiv, and are contained in his Flex-7 rpt, 
6Mar4l. This is the only Marine rpt of Flex-7 available. 
It is general in nature and does not contain a narrative 
of the exercise or specific criticism of individual 
landing exercises. Rpts at Regt'l and Bn level, if they 
ever existed, have either been destroyed or lost. As a 
result, the author is unable to make any more elaborate 
evaluation of Flex-7 landing opns than is given here. 

(44) Landing Force Admin Order 1-41, 17Jan4l. 


assigned to shore party duty of training in their a-': 

duties. Nor was It a real solution to the problem except 
for the particular exercise , for the regular trained; shore 
parties so necessary for successful amphibious operations. 

Shortages of equipment were equally serious. There 
were not enough landing craft to bring ashore the planuses 
levels of ammunition, nor was it possible to land adequate 
motor transport to carry forward the meager supplies 
actually landed. As a result* assault elements would 
have been out of asuainiGfon by 1500 of D-Bay. All these 
factors combined to limit the value of training in lo- 
gistics problems as they would aetually be en-jcunterea. 

in combat, 

Carib Plan - lev ? FUver Exercise 

The Nasi successes in the first half of 1941 , fol 
lowed by the Japanese moves into French Indc-China during 
the summer, served to give new urgency to amphibious 
training. The Joint Board (predecessor to the JCS) 
issued Plan No. 350, calling for .joint amphibious train- 
ing of the Army and Navy. Joint Board 350 consisted of 
two subordinate plans, the Carib Plan for east coa t tr in- 
ing and the Pearl Plan for training on the west coast. ' 

(45) Addendum to Landing Force Op Orders l~4l and 2-4l: 
Shore Parties. 

(46) CG IstMarDiv, Flex-7 Rpt, 6Mar4l. 
(4?) K. R. Greenfield, R. R. Palmer, B. I* Wiley, The Wai 

Department - The Organization of Ground " 

"Army in World War ITT^ashlng^on 1 f ~¥©ve 

te3~ "Army in woFIaHffar I T~(^ashInpon : '" " "G6\ 

WIntIng°^rfTce, 19fl7) f 87. ""As there is nt other infor- 
mation concerning PMP training on the West Coast, the 
remainder of this chapter will deal with East Coast Training. 


The Carib Plan, which was approved on 24 June, created 
the 1st Joint Training Force and provided for its training. 
Made up of the 1st Marine Division, Army 1st Infantry 
Division, 1st Marine Air Group, and Navy transports and 
cargo vessels, the 1st Joint Training Force was under the 
over-all command of Rear Admiral E. J„ King, Commander 
Atlantic Fleet. The Marine and Army troops were under the 
command of Major General H. M. Smith, USMC. 

The joint amphibious training was to be carried out 
in two stages. The first stage, preliminary training for 
Army and Marine combat teams, was to be held at New River, 
North Carolina, terminating on 20 July. This was to be 
the first large scale exercise held at the new Marine 
Corps base. Procured the previous fall, New River pro- 
vided an extensive maneuver area to replace Culebra and 
Vieques, which were no longer big enough to accommodate 
the expanded amphibious forces. 

The second stage was to be a joint amphibious land- 
ing on Puerto Rico, to be held from 30 July to 11 August. 
For the joint exercise, appropriate types and numbers of 
Navy combatant ships would join. Troops of the Puerto 
Rican Department would serve as the defending force. 

New River Exercise 

Even before the issuance of Joint Board 350, 1st 
Marine Division units had begun to load out for New River. 
Embarkation, carried out at Quantico and Parris Island, 

(48) Ibid . 


was completed about 9 July. The Army's 1st Infantry 

Division moved by rail from Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, 

to embark at New York, 

Embarkation of both divisions was seriously hampered 
by shortage of shipping „ Only 10,255 of 15,216 available 
Army troops could be embarked. And in the 1st Marine 
Division, 6,213 out of a total of 8,385 could be accommo- 
dated o This constituted 74 per cent, about the same as 
in Flex~7° Failure to improve on the percentage of par- 
ticipation in spite of increased transport shipping was 
the result of increases in both Marine and Army contingents 
which more than offset the additional shipping capacity. 
Service units of both divisions were left behind, thus 
depriving these outfits of the opportunity for training 
and also denying commanders and staffs the opportunity 
to direct and coordinate service troops in support of 
the combat elements.-* 

Not only were there too few transports, but many of 
those provided were too small to accommodate a full 
strength combat team. Marine combat teams, which were 
still at reduced allowance, could be accommodated without 

(49) CG IstMarDiv, New River Exercise Rpt, 28Aug4l, 
filed in Rpt on Landing Exercise, New River, 5Jun-13Aug4l . 
Ho M, Smith, "Amphibious Tactics in the U. S. Navy," 

MC Gazette , Oct 1946, 33. 

(50) CG Lant PhibFor, Prelim Rpt, 1st Joint Trng Force 
Exercises, New River 4-42, Aug4l, FMFLant File, 1975, 
27Aug4l„ Unless otherwise cited, New River rpts are in 
HistBr, HQMC. 


cutting but the Army combat teams were compelled to reduce 
their combat strength in order to fit into available 
shipping. According to Major General K. M. Smith, "Rifle 
battalions were reduced below war strength to such an 
extent that they lacked sufficient power for sustained 
action against a well coordinated defense."- 5 Even the 
reduction of rifle battalion strength was not adequate to 
permit the loading of reinforcing elements of all the Army 
combat teams. Two of these sailed without their motor 
transport, one left behind its artillery, and two others 
had neither artillery nor motor transport. 

Although every effort was made to combat load all 
shipping, two large transports carrying four Army combat 
teams sailed with commercial loads. Even those ships 
which were combat loaded were not all stowed most effi- 
ciently, for transport quartermasters and unit commanders 

who had no previous experience in landing operations could 

not be properly trained in the time available. 

Upon the completion of the first phase, combatant 

ships of the Atlantic Fleet joined to participate in the 

joint landing exercise. For purposes of the exercise, 

(51) CG LantPhibFor, Final Rpt and Prelim Rpt, 1st Joint 
Trng For Landing Exercises, New River, 4-12Aug4l, folder 
entitled "Rpt on Landing Exercises, New River, 5Jun- 

(52) Ibid . 

(53) There is no information available regarding the 
preliminary phase. 


Task Force 17 was formed as the naval attack force. 
The landing force , designated Task Force 18, included 
the 1st Marine Division, less the 1st Battalion, 5th 
Marines, the 1st Infantry Division, less the 18th Infantry, 
the Air Assault Group, made up of Company A, 2d Marine 
Parachute Battalion, the Mobile Landing Group, composed 
of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, and the 18th Infantry 
as Force Reserve. In addition, combatant ships of the 
Atlantic Fleet formed fire support groups. To make the 
exercise a true two-sided maneuver, troops of the Puerto 

Rican Department, U S c Army were the 

defending force „ 

On 25 July, Rear Admiral King no^i Commander 
Task Force 17 that the joint landing exercise was to 
transferred from Puerto Rico to New River . D-Day was i 
at 4 August, leaving only 10 days in which to modify plans 
and issue new orders . Changes were kept at a minimum. 
The same task force organization was kept in effect, but 
it was not possible to substitute another maneuver enemy 
for the Puerto Rican Department troops. 

Task Force 17 rendezvoused off New River on 3 August. 
During the night, it put to sea with courses set to arrive 
in the designated transport and fire support areas the 

(54) TF 18 Op Plan Roger 1-41, l6jul4l; CinCLant ltr to 
ComTralnLant , subj Exercises in Mass Landings in Force, 
Puerto Rico, 10Jul4l, both filed in CHQ files, 354.2, 
AGO Departmental Records Branch, Alexandria, Va a 


following morning. Shortly after daylight, the ships 
arrived in their assigned positions and began to debark 
troops. The scheme of maneuver called for a two divisional 
landing, with the 1st Infantry Division on the left, and 
the 1st Marine Division on the right. Each division Ian led 
two regiments in assault. Under ideal weather conditions, 
the ship-to-shore movement proceeded smoothly. The 4,000 
troops of the first wave hit the beach at the scheduled 
H-Hour of 1100. Landing of succeeding waves continued 
throughout the day, with a total of 3,640 Army and 2,528 
Marines landing on D-Day. -* 

Debarkation of troops continued for the next three 
days. On 5 August, 5,721 troops were landed. The total 
dropped the next day to 4,127, and on the 7th a final 69'' 
Army troops were landed, for an over-all total of 15,746. 
A total of 722 troops embarked on transports could not be 
landed because of a shortage of landing craft. These 

were Army reserve echelons, including some organic 

artillery. In spite of the failure to land all avail- 
able troops, the ship-to- shore movement of personnel was 
excellent, with a minimum of confusion and delay. ' 

(55) Commander TP 17, Prelim Rpt, New River Landing 
Exercise, 4-12Aug4l, l4Aug4l, filed in folder 1975 Opns & 
Trng # 1. 

(56) CG LantPhibPor, Deficiencies in Landing Exercises, 
August 1941, l4Nov4l, filed in folder 1975, Opns & Trng # 1. 

(57) Maj R. E. Hogaboom, Rpt of Observations, Encl D to 
ComMarCorps Schools Rpt to CMC, Observations of Maneuvers 
at New River, N. C, 4-5 Aug and 7-9 Aug, by officers of 
the Marine Corps Schools, 25Aug4l. 


By contrast with the landing of personnel, the land- 
ing of materiel was far from satisfactory. A number of 
causes combined to produce this result. Chief among them 
was the shortage of tank lighters, resulting in failure 
to land sufficient armored vehicles. Nor was it possible 
to land sufficient motor transport to support the seizure 
of a beachhead with sufficient depth for the size of the 
landing force . Approximately one half of the embarked 
motor transport could not be landed. Arrangements for 
the handling of supplies across the beach were inadequate 
as originally planned. It was only by reinforcing shore 
parites with combat troops that these organizations could 

function. The shore party of the 5th Marines, for 

instance, was reinforced with 100 men from the 7th Marines. 

The operations ashore were on a much larger scale 

than in any previous Marine landing exercise. For two 

days, both divisions advanced inland deployed as though 

they were attacking a defending enemy. In conjunction 

with the main attack, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, a 

paratroop company, and tanks made an attack on the right, 

the ground troops advancing around the flank to join up 

with the paratroopers who had dropped in the enemy rear. 

On 7 August, the advance was halted, and the landing force 

(58) Ibid .; and CO 5th Marines, Rpt on New River Lndg 
Exercises, 22Aug4l, filed in folder, Rpt on Lndg Ex, 
New River, 5 Jun~13Aug4l „ 


took up hasty defensive positions. For the next three 
nights, troops withdrew to the beach and were reembarked 
aboard ship. This phase of the operation was given some 
semblance of realism by the designation of the 1st Marine 
Air Group as the enemy air force, to bomb and strafe the 

withdrawing troops. By 11 August, all troops had returned 

aboard ship in a smoothly conducted exercise. 

Plagued as it was by the absence of a maneuver enemy, 
shortages of trained staff personnel in various echelons, 
of motor transport, and of service troops, the advance 
inland phase was still of great value for training at all 
levels. This was the first opportunity for Marines to 
participate in division size maneuvers involving a long 
advance inland. The system of supply, ability of com- 
manders to handle troops over unfamiliar terrain, exercise 
of command with daily displacement of command posts, and 
the maintenance of troops in the field over a period of 
days were all tested. 

Inevitably, deficiencies showed up. The greatest of 
these was in logistics, where the absence of service units 
and the motor transport shortage made movement of supplies 
from the beach to forward units extremely difficult. Those 

(59) CG LantPhibFor, Prelim Rpt, 1st Joint Trng Force 
Exercises, New River, 4-l2Aug4l, 27Aug4l. Commander TF 17 
Prelim Rpt, New River Landing Exercises, l4Aug4l. 

(60) Ibid . 


supplies which were landed were piled on the beach where 

they made an ideal target for enemy aircraft. 

In addition, troops showed an indifference to the 
necessity for concealment and an unwillingness to camouflage. 
Deployment in dense woods with few landmarks pointed up 
the need for more map reading and compass training. And 
the introduction of paratroops lent realism to the neces- 
sity for command post security. Although commanders and 
staffs demonstrated some skill in the control of support- 
ing arms, there was still room for improvement, particu- 

larly in the control of aircraft. 

Return to Fundamentals 

With the completion of the New River exercises, plans 
were made for further amphibious training of the 1st Joint 
Training Force, now redesignated the Amphibious Force, 
Atlantic Fleet. But these were cancelled so that de- 
ficiencies in training and organization brought out at 
New River could be corrected. General Smith, in his final 
report of the New River Exercises, recommended that no 
further joint exercises be held before November. Then, 
with the decision of the Army o include the 1st Infantry 
Division in regular Army maneuvers during that month, the 

(61) Maj R. E. Hogaboom, op. cit ., CG LantPhibFor, Prelim 
Rpt, 1st Joint Trng Force Ix, Hew River, 4-12Aug4l. 

(62) CO 5th Marines Rpt, New River Exercises, 22Aug4l, 
filed in folder, Rpt on Landing Exercise, New River, 


next joint exercise of the Amphibious Force, Atlantic 
Fleet was postponed until January 1942. 

The deficiencies in the training of the 1st Marine 
Division were the end result of a chain of events dating 
back a year to the previous September. As has already 
been pointed out, the transfer of the division to the 
Caribbean and preparation for and participation in Flex-7 
prevented the carrying out of a unit training program. 
Upon return to the United States the division was dispersed 
to Quantico, New River, and Parris Island, and engaged in 
reorganizing in anticipation of the Azores operation. 
Then came the embarkation and movement to New River for 
the Carib Force exercises. All these activities left 
little time for individual and unit training. As a direct 
result, the commanding general reported that his division 
was inadequately trained in the following: "...combat 
principles /of the/ squad and platoon. Tactics /of/ small 

units. Combat firing Tactics /of all/ units to include 

reinforced regiments." 

As a first step towards correcting these training 
deficiencies, an effort was made to concentrate the di- 
vision at New River. However, the 1st Battalion, 5th 

(63) CG LantPhibFor, Final Rpt, 1st Joint Trng Force 
Landing Exercises, New River, 4-12Aug4l. Memo BriGen 
H. J, Maloney to Gen McNair, 170ct4l, subj: Training 
of the 1st Division, GHQ Files, A44-159/74, AGO, Depart- 
mental Records Branch, Alexandria, Va. 

(64) CG IstMarDiv, Rpt of Readiness, 5Sep4l, HistBr, 


Marines, remained at Quantieo, and the 11th Marines at 

Parris Island c In November, all but the 4th Battalion 

of the 11th had shifted to New River . J 

The 1st Marine Division was a division in name only 
in September 194l . It still lacked a third infantry 
regiment and two of its four battalions of artillery, 
and two tank companies. Its total strength was only 
7,881 out of an authorized 15,916. By December, strength 
had increased to 9, 389° The additional infantry regiment, 
the 1st Marines, had been organized but consisted of only 
160 key personnel And one additional artillery battalion 
had been organized . Training, then, was confined to the 
existing units and to the 4th Battalion, 11th Marines. 
Training for the 1st Marines could not begin until ad- 
ditional personnel reported, and the division problems 
suffered from the lack of a balanced triangular structure. 

During October, the units at New River and Parris 
Island concentrated on field training, emphasizing combat 
principles and tactics . For staff and communications 
personnel there were two command post exercises, one of 
divisional size at New River and another of regimental 
size at Parris Island, In addition, all intelligence 
personnel trained in coordination with unit field exer- 
cises . At Quantico, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines 
conducted combat firing and rubber boat training. 

(65) Ibid , 3 and CG IstMarDiv, Rpts of Readiness, 150ct, 
INov, and 15Nov4l, HistBr, HQMC. 

(66) Ibid . 


After the arrival of the 11th Marines at New River 
early in November, a division field exercise was held with 
satisfactory results. All units present at New River par- 
ticipated, including six aircraft. Special stress was 
laid on operations when the enemy has control of the air. 
Following the field exercise, the emphasis in training 
shifted to night exercises, combat firing problems, and 
air-ground communications. Training in these subjects 
was still under way when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, 


During the 27 months of the short -of -war period, offi- 
cers and men of the FMP had made definite progress towards 
the goal of amphibious preparedness. Admittedly, the 
practice of conducting two-sided maneuvers had been 
abandoned. It was also true that a smaller percentage 
of the FMF was able to participate in joint landing 
exercises. More important, these exercises had grown to 
approximately division size. In addition, the availability 
of new equipment, landing craft and troop transports gave 
Marines an opportunity to train with the equipment they 
were actually to use in combat. As a result, the training 
in the FMF more nearly resembled the conditions of actual 
operations. There remained the final test of combat, and, 
with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was soon to 



7 DECEMBER 19^1 TO 14 AUGUST 19^5 


The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 
194l put an abrupt end to 27 months of gradually increas- 
ing American involvement in World War II. For the next 
44 months, the United States was at war with Germany, 
Italy, and Japan. Marines were present at Pearl Harbor, 
and they continued to take a vital part in subsequent 
operations against the Japanese. Theirs was the first 
American offensive in the Pacific, ~at Guadalcanal in 
August 1942. They participated in the campaign to iso- 
late Rabaul and played a leading role in the drive across 
the central Pacific, beginning at Tarawa and ending at 

To carry out its combat missions, the Marine Corps 
expanded sevenfold, from about 66,000 to about 485,000, 
officers and men. An expansion of this size created 
serious training problems. To teach military skills to 
the great number of new Marines, and to indoctrinate the 
many newly formed units in the intricacies of amphibious 
warfare were tasks of the first magnitude. 

The Marine Corps was not unprepared to face the test 
of war on 7 December 194l. In this regard, there is a 
striking difference between World War I and World War II. 
On 6 April 1917, the date of American entry into World 
War I, the Marine Corps numbered only 13*419. Nearly a 


year before, authorized strength had been increased to 
18,093, but only about 2,300 officers and men had been 
added during the following months Just prior to the 
declaration of war. Next to nothing was done to pre- 
pare for training additional personnel, with the result 
that training facilities and organization had to be 
created after the United States entered the war. 

On 7 December 1941 there was a very different con- 
dition. Since September 1939 the Marine Corps had been 
expanding. With expansion of personnel, there had been 
a comparable development of training activities. By 
Pearl Harbor day the main patterns of training which 
were to be used by the Marine Corps during World War II 
had been evolved. These included: 

(1) Recruit training little changed in concept 
since 1939. The basic principles had proved sound and 
were to continue in effect throughout the war; 

(2) The OCC-ROC system for training officers, 
which was to remain in effect until the last year of 
the war; 

(3) The training center system for training «, 
specialists which was used throughout the war. 

Of course, many problems arose in carrying out the 
training programs during World War II. Many changes were 
made, but the basic procedures proved sound, even though 
they were extensively modified in execution. 


Some of the training problems which arose during 
World War II, the solutions to these problems, and their 
success or failure are taken up in the chapters to 



The Mobilization Crisis, 7 December 1941 - 1 March 

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese launched their 
attack on Pearl Harbor. The next day Congress declared 
war on the Axis Powers, and thousands of young Americans 
besieged Marine recruiting stations seeking to enlist in 
the service of their country. At this time, the Marine 
Corps had an enlisted strength of about 63,000 and was 
working towards an authorized ceiling of 75,000. The 
President raised this figure to 104,000 on 16 December, 
and the Commandant decided to institute all-out recruit- 
ing to attain the full authorized strength by 1 March, 
an increase of about 60 per cent in less than three 
months. As a result, the monthly enlistments leaped 
from 1,978 in November to 10,224 in December, 22,686 in 
January, and 12,037 in February. 

An increase of these proportions placed a stagger- 
ing burden on the recruit depots. To achieve the goal 
of 104,000 would require each depot to train an average 
of 6,800 men per month in December, January, and February. 
As both depots had been operating on the basis of an 

(1) M-3 Op Diary, 7Dec4l-31Dec44. Dir P&P memo to CMC, 
21Dec4l, 1975-60-20. 

(2) U. S. Naval Administration in World War II: "The 
Marine Corps" (MS, HistBr, HQMC). 


average output of 1,600 per month, they were now faced 
with a four fold expansion. 

'^In anticipation of heavier recruiting, the Commandant 
had already directed a cutback in the recruit training 
cycle from seven to six weeks. Under the reduced schedule, 
recruits went to the rifle range after only two-weeks 
instruction at the main station. Thus the recruit depot 
staffs had to complete the physical hardening and ground- 
ing in fundamentals in only two -thirds of the time for- 
merly allowed. The three-week rifle range period, during 
which recruits fired the rifle and pistol for record and 
familiarized themselves with other infantry weapons, and 
the final week of combat training and review of previous 
instruction remained unchanged. 

The shortened training schedule did not speed the 
flow of recruits through the depots enough to prevent 
serious shortages in housing. Efforts to alleviate the 
shortage ran into one snag after another. At San Diego, 
for instance, recruit depot personnel began to erect 
Nissen huts only to have them assigned to the 2d Defense 
Battalion. Then tents were procured and decks constructed 
for them. The first tents were taken away and others had 

(3) Ibid. 

(4) CG MCB SD ltr to CMC, HDec4l, 1975-60-20. CG MB PI 
ltr to CMC, 21Dec4l, encl 1, 6 wk tmg sched, 1975-60- 


to be obtained from the 2d Base Depot. The Quartermaster 
then advised that a contract had been let for the erection 
of 700 Hosite huts, but construction did not actually 
begin until three weeks later. 

Personnel shortages in the training staffs were also 
serious. The Adjutant and Inspector recommended increases 
of 50 per cent in all enlisted grades, but so great were 
the demands for trained manpower throughout the Marine 
Corps that no additional personnel were authorized until 
April. As an emergency measure, certain personnel were 
ordered to recruit depots on a temporary duty basis. 
These included all enlisted men selected for the Officer 
Candidates' Class, all second lieutenants awaiting as- 
signment to Basic School, and 121 NCO's from the 1st 

In spite of these additions to training center staffs, 
the Commandant realized by the end of December that the 
Marine Corps could not achieve the 1 March mobilization 
goal without a further reduction in the training cycle. 
On 21 December the Director of the Division of Plans and 
Policies pointed out that, under the six-week cycle, a 
capacity of 15,000 at each depot would be required. If a 
one-week reduction were made, mobilization goals could be 

Wm^^^^^i^To'.^^ 2 ' t0 CMC ltr t0 
&L& Srs-i^oIX? 41 - 3106044 - co * PI ltr to CMC ' 


reached with only 12,500-man capacities. Realizing that 
facilities could not be expanded to accommodate the 
larger figure in time, the Commandant directed the in- 
stitution of five-week schedules at both depots effective 

1 January. 

The five-week schedules called for three weeks at 
the main station and two weeks at the rifle range. At 
San Diego, 188 hours of instruction were scheduled during 
the five-week period „ Of these, 96 were devoted to weap- 
ons training, 32 to field subjects, four to physical 


conditioning, and 56 to garrison-type subjects. 

By mid-January, Parris Island had encountered further 
difficulties. Owing to the heavier recruiting in the 
eastern United States, the < coast depot was receiving 
a disproportionate number tits and was unable to 
accommodate them. To meet this situation, east coast 
recruiting stations diverted some of their recruits to 
San Diego. As a temporary solution Parris Island sent 
500 recruits a wee, co Quantico for rifle range instruc 
tion, beginning 24 January. By 15 February, the redirection 

(7) Dir Div P&P memo to CMC, 21Dec4l, 1975-60-20. 
Dispatch, CMC to CG's, MCS SD and MB PI, 26Dec4l, 

(8) Encl A (Emergency Schedule dtd Uan42) to CO Recruit 
Depot MCB SD Itr to CMC, 7Jan42, 1975-60-20-10. No 
Parris Island 5-week schedule is available. Garrison 
subjects include close order drill, int3rior guard, 
ceremonies, etc. 


of recruits to the west coast and the increasing rifle 

range facilities made it possible to discontinue this 


During January, physical facilities were gradually 
increased. At Parris Island, housing capacity was in- 
creased by 7,040 on the main station and by 4,128 at the 
rifle range. Construction was started on 50 additional 

Concurrently with the completion of facilities, 
enlistments declined. From a high of 22,686 in January, 
the number of recruits fell to 12,037 in February and 
was due for a further decline in the succeeding months. 
The drop in enlistments, combined with the completion 
of new facilities at the recruit depots, permitted resump- 
tion of longer training schedules. On 15 February the 
schedule was back to six weeks, and on 1 March to seven. 
Thus the Marine Corps had gained its object of achieving 
the initial buildup within three months; but not without 
cost, for recruits who joined the Corps during these 
months did not receive the amount of training which the 
Marine Corps had learned by experience was most desirable. 

(9) Memo of telephone conversation between Col L. R. 
Jones and LtCol W. w. Rogers, l8jan42, 1975-60-20-10. 
CMC dispatch to CG MB PI, 2GJan42, 1975-60-20-10. Dir 
P&P memo to CMC, 7Feb42, 1975-60-20-10. 

(10) "History of Marine Barracks, Parris Island, S. C," 
18. Unsigned MS, dtd l4Aug46, in HistBr, HQMC. Herein- 
after cited as Parris Island Hist. A&I memo to CMC, 
30Dec4l, 1975-60-20. CMC""Ttr~to~CG MB PI, 13Jan42, 

(11) CMC ltr to CG MCB SD, l4Dec42, 1975-60-20-10. 


Seven Week's Recruit Training 

Under the seven-week program, recruits spent their 
first three weeks at the main station, and the fourth 
and fifth weeks on the rifle range. For the final week, 
they returned to the main station. At San Diego, 271 
hours were scheduled for instruction. More than half of 
them, 138 hours, were devoted to weapons instruction. 
Garrison- type subjects consumed 62 hours, while field 

training took up 57. Only 14 hours were scheduled for 

physical conditioning. (A much larger number of hours 

was actually spent in physical training but was not shown 

as such in the published schedule.) 

In the new schedule, greater emphasis was placed on 
achieving combat readiness. Field subjects, which made 
up about 21 per cent of the five-week schedule, now con- 
stituted 30 per cent of the scheduled hours. Garrison 
subjects showed a corresponding decrease from 21 per cent 
to 17 per oent. Physical conditioning, with a rise from 
two per cent to six per cent of scheduled hours, also 
received greater stress. 

During the first four months of operations under the 
seven-week program, the monthly input of recruits was well 
within the oapacity of the recruit depots. In March, only 

(12) Enol A (7 wk schedule for recruits) to CO Recru^tr 
Depot MCB SD ltr to CMC, 4Mar42, 1975-60-20-10. No Parris 
Island schedule is available. 


7,600 new Marines entered the service. During succeeding 
months, the numbers of new recruits gradually increased 
until in July it reached nearly 16,000, a figure which 
was larger than the recruit depots could handle. Paced 
with a planned monthly input in excess of 16,000 for at 
least the remainder of the year, the Marine Corps was 
forced to take emergency steps to increase recruit train- 
ing facilities. 

At both depots, the bottleneck was on the rifle 
range. It was estimated that there would be an excess 
of 800 men a week at each range, a figure on the con- 
servative side for Parris Island where the actual number 
was about 1,000. Prom August through December the overflow 
was transferred upon the completion of four weeks of train- 
ing to the Training Centers at New River and at Camp 

Elliott for range instruction. By this expedient, a cut 

in the training cycle was avoided. 

The seven -week schedule of recruit training was not 

only kept in effect, but it was improved. Through more 

efficient scheduling and lengthening of the working day, 

the hours actually devoted to instruction were increased 

by about 25 per cent by the end of 19^3. Most of the 

additional time was devoted to physical training. Not 

only did this subject enjoy the greatest quantitative 

(13) CMC ltr to CG»s, PhibCorpsPacPlt, MB PI, MCB SD, 
and TC MB New River, 26Jul42, 1975-60. 


increase - about 300 per cent at San Diego - it also 
underwent the greatest qualitative change. While other 
subjects remained pretty much the same, physical train- 
ing became much more realistic. Physical contact exer- 
cises, boxing, wrestling, Judo, hand-to-hand fighting, 
and swimming were added to the program which had previ- 
ously been predominantly concerned with calisthenics and 
physical drills. 

By May 1943 the physical training program at Parr is 
Island included 30 minutes of accelerated calisthenics 
and body contact exercises and 30 minutes of massed bare- 
handed boxing daily. In addition, there were two 30- 
minute periods each week devoted to hand-to-hand fighting 
and unarmed combat, and daily half -hour periods of 
swimming instruction for recruits who could not meet the 
minimum qualification. 

Some Selective Service Problems 

Recruit depot staffs had barely recovered from the 
burdens imposed by the heavy recruiting -of the fall of 

(14) Encl A (Present 7 wk trng sched) to CG MB PI ltr 
to CMC, 24Dec43, 1975-60-20-10. Encl D (Basic sched 
now in effect) to Basic Trng Bd rpt to CG Dept of Pac, 
l8Nov43, 1975-60-20. 

(15) This is an interpretation deduced from the absence 
of specific mention of physical contact and swimming in 
early schedules and its inclusion in' later ones. 

(16) LtCol R. E. Hanley ltr to CMC, 6May43, 1975-60- 


19^2 when they were confronted with a new set of problems. 

On 5 December 1942, President R it issued an executive 

order stopping voluntary enlists it of all men of draft 

age. Henceforth, Marine recruits were to be furnished 

through . 

For the first year of the war, volunteers filled the 
Marine ranks. They had to be in excellent physical con- 
dition, to be able to read and write, and possess an 
aptitude for learning. Thorough screening at recruiting 
stations assured that the great majority of recruits 
reaching Parris Island and San Diego had the mental and 
physical qualities to absorb recruit training. 

One result of the change from volunteer to draftee 
was a lowering of the physical and intellectual standards 
of recruits. To cull out those who could not be expected 
to complete the normal recruit training cycle, a screen- 
ing unit was established at each recruit depot. Staffed 
by qualified psychiatrists, pyschologists, and social 
workers, and by specially- trained Marine officers and 
enlisted man, the unit interviewed all recruits during 
their first week of training. Those found to have defects 
which would prevent their completing the training cycle 
with their platoons were placed in the casual company for 
further observation. Some were obviously unfit for service 
and were discharged. Others, by special training, could 
be saved for useful service to their country. 

[ 17 L^ Th i? M se 2r ion is based on Brl Gen Charles A. Wynn ltr 
«™ MC ' 21Mar 5 6 ' and Parris Island Hist. Both in HistBr, 

H 'MC . 


Special treatment took two forms First, for those 
who possessed sound physiques and natural aptitude tout 
who had never received formal education, an elementary 
school was set up. Organized in August 19^3 * this school 
aimed at giving its students the equivalent of a sixth- 
grade education in a period of from three to six months. 
Upon completing this education, they were transferred** 
to regular platoons for recruit training. 

Men who were slow mentally or who had physical 
defects were placed in special casual platoons. The 
"A" Platoon, for slow learners, gave special instruction 
in the subject matter of the regular recruit training 
cycle. The "B" Platoon, for men with physical defects, 
covered the recruit cycle, omitting the more strenuous 

The 19^4 Reforms 

As the second year of the War came to an end, offi- 
cers at Headquarters and in the field began a reappraisal 
of the recruit training effort. There was general agree- 
ment that there was room for improvement. The Commanding 
General, FMF In the San Diego Area, a command which in- 
cluded all training activities on the west coast, pointed 
out that inadequacies In recruit training were so great 
that from 25 to 50 per cent of the time In the Replacement 
Training Centers had to be devoted to very basic Instruction. 

(18) CG FMF in SDA Itr to CMC, 17Sep43, 1975-60-20-10, 


■ ■ . . ;• • ..;. bin :■.:■■ 
BhortcoraU It trail ' . Th I a ' >r study a 

oaal to ^tend it t< I . To set a broader < :- 
ion of opinion from the training activities, the 
Commandant directed the commanding generals at Parris 
Island and San Diego to appoint boards to "consider all 

cts of the current and proposed systems, and to submit 
recommendations and proposed training schedules. . .for 

eight, ten, and twelve-week periods of Recruit Training ! 

Cn 18 November, when the San Diego board reported, it recom- 
menced a 12-week training schedule, but the board members 
felt that the last four weeks, which were to be devoted to 

rigorous field training, could better be conducted at a 

training center than at the recruit depot. 

Their recommendation for four weeks of field training 

was not accepted, however, and on 1 December, orders were 

issv d to extend training at recruit depots to 12 weeks, 

effective on 1 February. Within the Division of Plans 

and Policies a period of field training at the training 

c nt rs was looked on with favor. Writing on 19 January, 

the Director of the Division pointed out to the Commandant 

the advantages of conducting field training at training 


(19) CMC ltr to CG's Dept of Pac and MB PI, 270c t43. 
1875-6C -20-10. 

(20) Basic Trng Bd ltr to CG Dept of Pac, l8Nov43, 1975- 
o0-20. No copy of the Parris Island Board rpt is available. 

(21) CMC ltr to CG Dept of Pac and CG MB PI, lDec43, 


centers where proper facilities were available. He recom 

mended extending recruit training to eight weeks and 

adding an eight-week period 1 field training . 

The Commandant accepted this proposal. On 26 January 

he rescined his previous order by issuing a new 

calling for eight weeks of recruit training, to 

effect on 1 March. 

Variations between the eight-week schedules sub- 
mitted by the depots led the Commandant to take effective 
steps for the first time to assure uniformity of training 
at the two recruit depots. Previously, it had been the 
practice to Issue only generalized instructions and to 
leave the details of the schedules to the commanding 
officers of the recruit depots. The Commandant's direc- 
tives for the establishment of the six and seven-week 

schedules included the following Instructions : 

The six-week recruit training schedule will 
become effective on February 15* 1942; the 
seven-week schedule , on March 1 , 1942 .... 
Both the six-week and the seven-week schedules 
will include three weeks" instruction on the 
rifle range. The rifle range schedule may be 
fitted into the entire training schedule so 
that recruits will have a few days at the 
depot after completing their range work, If 
so desired. 

(22) Dir P&P memo to CMC (unnumbered), 19Jan44, 1975= 

(23) CMC ltr to CG's Dept of Pac and MB PI, 26jan44, 

(24) CMC ltrs to CG's MCB SD and MB PI, l4Peb42, 


>t's direct j For 
the institution of the eight-week schedule were squally 
"broad bru h. 

The schedule of recruit training should be 
confined to such subjects as will enable 
recruit depots to fulfill their function, 
which is to give all Marine recruits proper 
basic individual instruction. The recruit, 
when he has completed his recruit depot 
training, should have completed the tran- 
sition from a civilian to a Marine and be 
ready to begin his training as a member of 
a team at the training center. 2 5 

Recruit depots were required to submit their sched- 
ules to Headquarters for approval, but these schedules 
were not reviewed for consistency with each other. As 
a result, wide variations, both in subject matter and 
in the hours devoted to each, existed between the two 
depots. The table below indicates the differences be- 
tween the eight -week programs submitted for approval by 
Parris Island and by San Diego in February 1944. 

It was the obvious disparity between these two sched- 
ules that led the Director of the Division of Plans and 
Policies to recommend, and the Commandant to approve, the 
issuance of a master training schedule by Marine Corps 
Headquarters. This schedule listed the subjects to be 
taught and prescribed the hours to be devoted to each. 

(25) CMC ltr to CG's Dept of Pac and MB PI, 26Jan44, 

(25) CMC .''::- '■/, Q()* f : U. ,,, of p ac ? jflpj rT 

" • 







San Diego 

Parris Island 

Arms and equipment 

M-l rifle mechanical 




M-l carbine " 


note 1 

Hand and rifle grenades 


note 1 

Infantry pack 





Chemical warfare 



Infantry drill 



Interior guard duty 



Marches, camps, bivouacs 



Military courtesy 



Military sanitation 



Organization, classification, 




Parades and ceremonies 


Physical training 


? 8 , 

Rifle range instruction 



Protective measures 


Use of compass and maps 


Care and marking of equipment 


and clothing 




Shelter tents 



Combat principles (squad) 



Technique of rifle fire 



Individual emplacements 


Note It. These subjects probably 

■ covered at 

rifle range. 

(27) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 23Feb44, 1975-60-20-10. 


ine Corp I ::in station and 

:: the ':.'- *ange - th fourth, fifth, and 

tota] of 421 hours of instruction were 
Of the - were devoted to weapons in- 
struction, 39 to physica] training, 89 to garrison sub- 
jects, and 98 to field subjects. In general, the new 
schedule was similar to the seven-we sk schedules which 
it replaced. As indicated in the table below, the per- 
centage of scheduled hours devoted to each of the major 
categories of instruction varied little percentage -wis 
. the olc program. 


j • t 

Parr is 





% of 

j .■'••: "J 


% of 


% of 















3 : ". 

Gta '■-•- 






22* * 





; 8 





, — 


£?S* ;,? nC L£V ( L W £ trng sch ed) to CG MB PI Itr to CMC, 

to Basic Trng Bd ltr to CG Dept of Pac, l8Nov43, 1975-60-20 


4 ect) 

A final change in recruit training came at the end 
of July 1944. Thirty-six additional hours of instruction 
were scheduled within the eight-week cycle, all of them 
devoted to weapons training. A proposed increase to nine 
weeks, tentatively approved by the Commandant in May 19^5* 

was dropped the following month, and the eight -week 

schedule remained in effect for the remainder of the war. * 

The Drill Instructor Problem 

"At Parris Island, after December 7, 1941, there was 
always a shortage of able D. I.'s. In these words, 
Colonel Charles A. Wynn, Commanding Officer, Recruit Depot 
Parris Island, summed up what was one of the most serious 
of World War II recruit training problems. The increase 
in the number of recruits under training, combined with 
the demands of the PMF for experienced noncommissioned 
officers, led to a situation where there were seldom 
enough competent drill instructors to staff all recruit 
platoons. It was often difficult to assign even one 
experienced instructor to each platoon. 

During the early days of the war, assistant drill 
instructors from platoons already in training were trans- 
ferred to take charge of new platoons. Likely noncom- 
missioned officers, and even privates, were brought in 

(29) End A (Eight wks rcrt trng) to CG MB PI Itr to 
CMC, lAug44. Encl A (Rcrt sched of instr) to CO RD SD 
Itr to CMC, 4Aug44. Both 1975-60-20-10. M-3 Op Diary, 
1941-45. CMC dispatch to CG MB PI, 28Jun45, 1975-60-20-10. 

(30) BriGen C. A. Wynn Itr to CMC* 20Apr56, HistBr, HQMC. 


ssistants "with ' would prove of some 

id eventually become qualified for permanent as- 
sign D. I.'s," 31 Under this system, quality of 
instruction suffered. The senior drill instructor could 
not give all instruction himself. Some of it he had to 
delegate to his inexperienced subordinates. 

To improve the quality of instruction, the Drill 
Instructors' School was organized in the recruit depot. 
Staffed by specially selected officers and noncommissioned 
officers, the school trained drill instructors for duty at 

Parris Island. Standards were high and results were 



In spite of the efforts of the Drill Instructors' 
School, the maintenance of a competent staff of drill 
instructors was extremely difficult as long as skilled 
noncommissioned officers were shipped out in replacement 
drafts after only short service in the recruit depots. 
Recognizing the shortcomings of such a policy, the 

Commandant, on 4 July 1944,. froze all instructors for 

one year.. 

(31) Ibid . 

(32) Ibid. 

(33) Parris Island Hist, 26-27. CMC ltr to CG Lejeune, 
CG PI, and CG MCB SD, 4jul44, 1975-60-20-10. 



Prom Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, the Parr is Island and 

San Diego recruit depots trained approximately 450,000 

new Marines. The course of instruction, seven weeks 

long at the beginning of hostilities, had been increased 
to eight weeks by the end of the war. In content, much 
greater emphasis was placed on weapons instruction, field 
subjects, and physical conditioning - subjects which 
contributed directly to combat readiness. Instruction 
in garrison- type subjects underwent a comparable decrease, 
Instructional methods were little changed. As in 1941, 
the hard-working enlisted drill instructors and rifle 
range coaches transformed raw American youths into good 
basic Marines, ready to pass on to the PMP or to replace- 
ment training centers for intensive combat training. 

(34) This figure represents the total number of Marines 
enlisted and inducted from 1 Dec 1941 through 31 Jul 1945. 
As all new Marines received recruit training, this figure 
should be very nearly accurate for total recruit depot 
output. No actual recruit depot output figure is 



During World War II, the Marine Corps replaced 

es on an individual basis. Rather than allow 

■an units to be so reduced in size as to become inef- 
fective, combat organizations were generally maintained 
at effective strength by replacing individual losses. 
This was not always so. In the Civil War, regiments 
fought until they were so reduced in numbers that they 
were disbanded and new regiments raised to take their 

The individual was introdu 

during World War I. on the experiences of that 
conflict, the Marine Corps, in the years between the 
wars, planned to use a similar system in a future conflict 
For the training of replacements, special training centers 
were to be organized. This was essentially the system 
put into effect. 

These training centers had a twofold mission. They 
conducted formal schools for the training of those techni- 
cal specialists who could not be efficiently trained in 
units, an activity which had already begun before Pearl 
Harbor at the Training Center, Quantico. They also 
operated infantry replacement training activities to 
provide individual instruction in the basic combat subject 


The Instruction of infantry replacements was both 
the biggest and the most exacting operation confronting 
training center staffs. By far the greatest percentage 
of casualties occurred in infantry units, and, as infantry 
casualties were frequently replaced during combat, their 
training in the replacement training system was of the 
utmost importance. 

Replacement Training Begins 

Five months passed after the attack on Pearl Harbor 
before the Commandant issued his first directive for the 
organization of replacement training establishments and 
for the beginning of replacement training. So urgent was 
the training and preparation for overseas movement of PMP 
units, particularly the 1st and 2d Divisions, that it was 
not until 22 May 19^2 that he issued his first directive 
for replacement training. The directives issued on that 
day and on the following day called for the organization 
of Training Centers at New River and in the San Diego 

Infantry replacement training got under way first 
on the west coast at Camp Elliott, where the 2d Replacement 
Battalion began training on 1 September, one month ahead 

of schedule. Training for this first battalion was limited 

to two weeks of physical conditioning. 

(1) CG PhibCorps PacPlt Itr to CMC, 17Sep42, 1520-30. 

(2) Ibid . ; Replacement battalions were purely adminis- 
trative organizations for the movement of replacements to 
the theater of operations. They had no tactical organi- 
zation and were disbanded upon arrival, their members 
being assigned to combat units on an individual basis. 


Training for the infantry components of subsequent 
battalions, beginning with the 4th, which was organized 
on 18 September, was of eight weeks duration. A 42 -hour 
week provided a total of 336 hours of instruction during 
the eight week period. These hours were divided into 
three parts - basic, 68 hours; tactical, 97 hours; and 
technical, 171 hours. The first two phases were given 
to all infantry replacements. 

Technical training consisted of four courses, and 
each enlisted man was assigned to one of them. These 
were rifle and BAR, machine gun, intelligence, and mortar. 

Infantry replacement training based on this schedule 
was handicapped by inadequate facilities and a shortage 
of competent instructors during the last months of 1942. 
The activation of the Training Center, Camp Pendleton, in 
February 1943, and the transfer of the Artillery, Engineer, 
and Amphibian Tractor Battalions there served to ease the 
pressure on school facilities, but the instructor problem 
was not so easily solved.^ 

At the end of November, the commanding general of 
the Training Center, Camp Elliott, reported: "The number 
of instructors for one replacement battalion is adequate, 
but the quality of those available is decidedly inferior; 
there is a particular shortage of qualified instructors 

(3) Camp Elliott Rpts of Readiness, lDec42 and lFeb43, 

S&C Piles 24-50-1. PMP SDA SO 16-43, 23Jan43, 2385/70-6410. 


in tactics and in the SOma and 8lmm mortars . Roughly 
50 per cent of our enlisted instructors are, either 
through lack of experience or intelligence, unqualified 
for giving adequate instruction in the subject at hand." 

To improve the caliber of enlisted Instructors, an 
NCO school was started and was held four nights a week. 
By the end of December, only "moderate" progress had been 
made . ^ 

It was not until January that anything was done about 
the quantitative problem. During the month, nine officers 
- two captains and seven lieutenants - and 20 enlisted 
men joined the instructor staff. However, the addition 
of these new instructors did little to improve the quality 
of instruction. None of the lieutenants had any field 
experience, while of the enlisted men, only five were 
experienced instructors. Mo immediate solution of the 
instructor problem was reached, and this was to be a 
continuing problem throughout the war. 

The experience gained in training infantry replace- 
ments, plus the lessons of combat which began to filter 
back from the Pacific, led t© modifications in the train- 
ing program during the summer of 1943 . These changes 
were summed up in the master schedule of 25 August. 
Under it, riflemen and BAR men received a total of 409 

(4) Camp Elliott Readiness Rpt, lDee42, S&C 24-50-1. 

(5) Camp Elliott Readiness Rpt, l-31Dec42, 1520-30. 

(6) Camp Elliott Readiness Rpt, l-3Uan43, S&C 24-50-1 


hours of training, an increase of 73 hours over the 336 
hours offered formerly . For machine gunners, mortar men, 
intelligence specialists, and antitank gunners, the hours 
of instruction increased from 336 to 383. 

The most significant innovations in the new schedule 
were those increasing realism in training. The combat 
reaction course, 200 yards of trenches, barbed wire, sage, 
and cactus, was the heart of the new realism. Men crept 
and crawled over ground swept by machine-gun fire aimed 
a little over their heads. They moved around, over, and 
through obstacles erected to teach combat discipline and 
mental conditioning. Dynamite caps and small charges of 
nitrostarch provided an explosive background. Prom a 
final trench, men leaped to bayonet dummies, attack a 
mock village, and plunge into foxholes while a tank passed 


over their heads. 

Other subjects added were night operations, swimming, 
field sanitation, and demolitions. In addition, the 
curriculum was adjusted t© accommodate changes in weapons. 
The pistol was replaced with the carbine, and the Thompson 
submachine gun was dropped. Two other ehanges saw close 
order drill and rifle marksmanship discarded on the ground 

(7) TO Camp Elliott, Master Training Schedule, 25Aug43, 

(8) John H. Gleason and Martin J Haloney, "School for 
Combat," MC Gazette, October T 


that men had mastered these subjects in recruit depot 

and could use the time better in other instruction. 

For mortarmen, machine gunners, and antitank 
gunners, there was a further change involving the tacti- 
cal training phase. Under the old schedule, the hours 
allotted to this section had been devoted to the tactics 
of infantry platoons, companies, and battalions. Under 
the new schedule, offensive and defensive tactics of 
section and squad armed with machine gun, mortar, or 
antitank gun as appropriate, were taught. Infantry 
replacement training on the west coast continued on this 
basis for the remainder of 1943. 

Infantry Replacement Training in Samoa 

Meanwhile, in the fall of 1942, the decision was 
made to train the replacement battalions organized at 
New River in Samoa. Beginning with the 1st Replacement 
Battalion, which arrived about 17 December, a total of 
seven battalions, 1st, 3d 5th, 7th, 13th, 15th, and 19th, 
were trained before July 1943, when replacement training 
in Samoa was discontinued. 

Responsibility for replacement training was delegated 
by the Commanding General of the Samoa Defense Force to 

(9) Master Training Schedule, Op. Cit. 

(10) Ibid . 

(11) P&P memo 11042, 30ct42, 2385/70-5010. Dir P&P memo 
to CMC, 27Feb43, 2385/70-6410. CO RTC 2d DefBn ltr to 
CG Samoa DefFor, 3Uul43, S&C 54-50-16. 


the 2d and 3d Brigades, which were the major tactical 
components of his command. Replacement Battalions, which 
were expected to arrive at monthly intervals, would be 
assigned alternately to the 2d and 3d Brigades, beginning 
with the 1st Battalion assigned to the 2d Brigade. 
Initially, training would have to be carried out within 
the tactical units, with defense battalion replacements 
training with defense battalions, infantry replacements 
with infantry regiments, and so forth. As soon as possi- 
ble, both the brigades were to organize replacement train- 
ing centers for the specific purpose of training replace- 

ment battalions. Although units of both brigades 

trained replacements, only the 2d Brigade organized a 
training center. 

To prepare infantry replacements to take their places 
in combat organizations, training programs stressed con- 
ditioning marches and exercises, individual combat, cover 
and concealment, field fortifications, infiltration tactics 
and countermeasures, sniper tactics and countermeasures, 
infantry weapons, jungle warfare, small unit tactics, and 
amphibious training. J 

(12) Samoa DefPor TrngO 6-42, 5Dec42, HistBr, HQMC. 

(13) Samoa DefFor TrngO 1-43, 22Jan43, HistBr, HQMC 


These subjects were covered in an eight week sched- 
ule, the first four weeks devoted to basic individual 
training with all weapons, and individual and squad 
technical and tactical training. During the second four 
weeks, troops took to the field for progressive training 
in offensive and defensive small unit exercises in jungle 
warfare, half of them at night. Finally, there were 
exercises in embarking into and debarking from landing 
craft. Weapons firing included combat rifle firing in 
jungle terrain, indoctrination and combat firing of 

heavy and light machine guns, 60mm and 8lmm mortars, 

and weapons of the regimental weapons company. 

Training in these subjects got under way with the 
arrival of the 1st Replacement Battalion in the middle 
of December 1942. It was assigned for training to the 
2d Brigade, and, as that unit had not yet organized its 
replacement training center, the training was "farmed 
out" to the 2d Defense Battalion, a brigade unit. Under 
this system, the 1st and the 3d replacement battalions 
were trained by the 2d Brigade. 

Training during this period was far from satisfactory, 
Instructors were inexperienced, and, in a few cases, 
incompetent. Schedules had not been prepared in advance 
and had to be improvised from day to day depending upon 
the availability of equipment. There was no Quartermaster 

(14) Ibid . 


section at first, ply initially was practically 
nonexistent. Buildings were all under construction, and 

it was not until the middle of February that the first 

muss hall was ready for occupancy. 

Meanwhile, the 3d Brigade was conducting training 
for the 5th Replacement Battalion. The infantry com- 
ponent, 12 officers and 600 enlisted men strong, was 
trained by the 22d Marines. With the departure of the 
5th on 26 March, training of the 13th Replacement Bat- 
talion began, using the same training plan. The 13th, 
which was the last replacement battalion trained by the 
5d Brigade, departed on 25 May. 

The opening of the Samoan replacement training center 
as a component of the 2d Defense Battalion on 31 March 
enabled the 2d Brigade to handle the increased burden. 
The staff had been bolstered by 54 men of the 3d Replace- 
ment Battalion who had been given a special six week 
course at the 2d Brigade school at Mormon Valley. The 
rifle range and amphibious mock-up were also ready for 
use. 17 

(15) CO RTC 2dDefBn ltr to CG Samoa DefFor, 31Jul43, 
and 1st End, CO 2dDefBn to CG Samoa DefFor, 4Aug43, 
S&C 54-50-16. ^ ' 

(16) 3dMarBrig TrngO 1-43, l6jan43, HistBr, HQMC. 
Reason for discontinuing replacement training in the 
3d Brigade is not indicated in available records. 

(17) CO RTC 2dDefBn ltr, Op. Cit. 


With these improvements in staff and equipment, 
the Replacement Training Center trained the 7th, 15th, 
and 19th Replacement Battalions with excellent results. 
Based on experience in training the 7th, the officers 
and noncommissioned officers of the other two battalions 

v/ere given special six week courses at Mormon Valley, to 

equip them for the job of infantry leadership. 

During the training periods of these battalions, 
facilities were gradually improved. At its peak of de- 
velopment, the Replacement Training Center included the 
following ranges and courses: 

One 20-target rifle range with 200, 300, and 500 
yard firing lines; 

two 20-target 1,000 inch ranges; 

one 10-man regulation bayonet course; 

one four-man assault and obstacle bayonet course; 

one two-man obstacle course; 

three one-man combat firing courses; 

three two-man combat firing courses; 

three squad combat firing courses; 

one six-unit regulation grenade throwing court; 

five mock-up landing craft; 

one 30-foot platform with cargo nets over the side 
and mock-up Higgins boats at the bottom for debarkation 

(18) Ibid . 


Just as the Replac went Tin in£ng Cent r was hitting 
its full stride, the high incidence of filariasis forced 
the discontinuance of replacement training in Samoa. As 
a result j the Training Center, Camp Lejeune, assumed the 
duty of training the individuals included in replacement 
battalions formed there. Training procedures at Camp 
Lejeune were similar to those in force at Camp Elliott. 

The 1944 Reforms 

After two years of war, Marines had accumulated 
sufficient experience, both in the conduct of training 
and in the use of the training center graduate in battle 
to appraise the shortcomings of the system which had 
been used since the outbreak of hostilities. 

From the field came discouraging reports that re- 
placements received were not ready to take their places 
in combat organizations. The Commanding General of the 
2d Division, commenting on the replacements received to 
rebuild the division after Tarawa, made the following 

The general state of training of replacements 
received by this division on January 4, 1944 
was most unsatisfactory. A careful survey by 
3attalion and Regimental Commanders of these 
replacements reveals the following: 

a No knowledge of elementary problems of 
first aid or field sanitation. 

b In most cases, nothing is known of 
elementary field fortifications: few 
replacements, if any, have ever dug a 
fox hole. 


c Did no1 the difference between a 
slit mid a straddle trench. 

d Little or no time has been devoted to 

com firing. . . . 

f Grenade training was inadequate. 

g Men attending the infantry school had no 
knowledge of mortars or machine guns.... 

This list of comments could be prolonged 
indefinitely, but the essence of all remarks 
is that although replacements have been, in 
most cases, exposed to a certain amount of 

instruction, there is little evidence that 
it has been assimilated. 1 " 

Further evidence that replacements failed to learn 
what they were taught was revealed by a practical exami- 
nation of graduat.-.-.: of an eight-week machine gun course. 
The following deficiencies were noted: poor gun drill, 
inability to search and traverse, ignorance of machine 
gun squad and platoon organization. Ignorance of nomen- 
clature of the gun, and inadequate practical experience 
in field firing. 20 

Marines in the training organizations were fully 
aware that there were deficiencies in the replacement 
training program. One major shortcoming was pointed out 
by the Commanding General FMP in the San Diego Area as 
early as September 1943. He drew the attention of the 
Commandant to the fact that recruits received in the 

(19) Encl A (CG 2dMarDiv ltr to CG VAC, 25Jan44) to CMC 
ltr to CG's MB PI and NOB SD, 15Feb44, 1975-60. 

(20) Ibid . 



from 25 to 50 per cent of replacement training time 
had to bo devoted to basic Marine training. As a result, 
- was insufficient time to complete the amount of 

advanced training that was desirable if a replacement 

were to take his place in an infantry unit during combat. 

In addition, training centers were still plagued by- 
inadequate instructor staffs. The quantitative difficul- 
ties experienced earlier in the war had largely been 
overcome, but quality left something to be desired. There 
v;as a serious shortage of qualified infantry instructors 
with combat experience. This was particularly true of 

officer.., and to a lesser extent of noncommissioned 



Another criticism of the replacement training system 
was directed against the replacement battalion of fixed 
composition. Experience showed that combat losses did 
not always correspond to the quota of specialties called 
for by the standard replacement battalion table of organ- 
isation. The Commanding General, Training Center, Camp 
Pendleton, recommended that replacements should be dis- 
patched to overseas theaters in response to personnel 
requisitions from the theaters. 2 ^ 

(21) CG FMP in SDA ltr to CMC, 17Sep43, 1975-60-20-10. 

(22) BriGen 0. R. Cauldwell and LtCol E. W. Snedeker 
memo to Dir P&P, 4Apr44, 1975-60. CMC ltr to CGs FMP 
SDA and Lejeune, 7Apr44, 1975-60. 

(23) Ibid . 


The first sj f 194*1 t n : reforms 
■ :■- ■'.';;! sd to remedy all th:-f-:e deficiencies. Most im- 

nt of these was the extension of the training cycle. 
On i: . July the Commandant issued a new directive extending 
infantry replacement training from eight to 12 weeks. 
For infantry specialists, the first four weeks were to 
be devoted to basic infantry training. Following the 
initial four week period came eight weeks of specialist 
training in the weapon to which the individual was 

assigned. Riflemen and BARmen took a straight 12 week 


For riflemen and BARmen, the new schedule provided 
720 hours of instruction, as compared to 409 in the old 
schedule. Additional time permitted the introduction of 
more advanced training in joint exercises with supporting 
weapons such as machine guns, mortars, and artillery, and 
also an exercise in the attack on a village. Other 
changes in curriculum reflected the shift in combat oper- 
ations from the south to the central Pacific. Jungle 
warfare was dropped, to be replaced by a course in bunker 
problems, emphasizing the specialized tactics developed 
by Marines in assaulting the heavily fortified inlands 
of the central Pacific. In addition, riflemen and BARmen 
were given familiarization courses in the light machine 
gun, 60mm mortar, and 2.36" pocket launcher. 

(24) CMC ltr to CG's FMF SDA and Lejeune, 4jul44, 1975- 



Changes in the basic infantry course for machine 

rs, mortarmen, and antitank gunners were similar to 
the rifleman course. With an increase from 201 
•l j hours of scheduled instruction, it was now possible 
-co t. ach fire team, squad and platoon tactics, and to 
conduct combat practice firing. As in the rifleman course, 
bunker problems were substituted for jungle warfare. 

The training schedules for machine gunners, mortar 
men, and antitank gunners increased from 2l8 to 484 hours. 
But with the : ception of the mortar school, where an 
observers' course was added, the changes were mostly 
quantitative. The ext??a hours were added to old courses 
rather than being assigned to new ones. 

To improve the quality of instruction in replacement 
cent rs, the Commandant issued a directive "freezing" all 
instructional personnel in place for one year. To assure 
conformance with the directive, commanding generals of 
Training Centere were re uiired to submit a list of all 

onnel stabilized, and additional lists showing changes 
on the 15th of every month. -* 

Infantry instructors were to be chosen from combat 
ran- whenever possible. Before taking up their duties 
as instructors, both officers and enlist d men went through 
a "super infantry school" where they received thorough 

(25) Ibid . 



instruction in all phases of infantry warfare. 

In presenting the expanded replacement training 
program to the training centers, the Commandant broke 
with the existing policies by listing all the courses 
to be offered and also the hours to be devoted to each. 
Previously, the Commandant had followed the policy of 
permitting commanders of training activities extensive 
powers to organize and conduct training v/ithin the frame- 
work of very broad directives. 

In setting up the Training Centers on east and west 
coasts in May 1942 for replacement and specialist train- 
ing, the Commandant merely -pacified the duration of 
courses as two months. He also enclosed a list of schools 
but hastened to add, "The schools listed are merely in- 
dicative of the fields of training tc be covered and you 
are authorized to combine or subdivide at discretion the 
actual schools." ' 

The 4 July directive, by spelling out the training 
program in detail, in effect shifted responsibility for 
the preparation of the training program from the field 
to Headquarters. The reasons for this were two in number. 
Most important was the critical response from the field 
regarding the inadequate training of combat replacements. 

(26) Ibid .; and "Administrative History, Marine Training 
and Replacement Command, Camp Pendleton" (unsigned, 
undated MS, HistBr, HQMC). Hereinafter cited as Pendleton 
Hist. " ~~ 

(27) CMC ltr to CG PhibCorpsPacFlt, 22May42, 1520-30. 


Second was the lack of uniformity between the training 
schedules at the various training centers and depots. 
To remedy these defects the Commandant felt it necessary 
to exercise much more direct control through a detailed 
training program prepared by Headquarters Marine Corps. 
Breakdown of Infantry Replacement Training 
The completion of the 19^4 reforms should have pro- 
vided units in the field with well-trained infantry 
replacements. However, reports from the field were still 
disappointing. Commenting on the inadequacies of replace- 
ments during the Iwo Jima operation, the commanding offi- 
cer of the 27th Marines pointed out that "replacements 
were certainly totally unsatisfactory.... Having had 
little or no previous combat training, they were more or 
less bewildered and in many cases were slow in leaving 
their foxholes."* 

There were several reasons for the failure of re- 
placements to measure up to expected standards in combat. 
First, the infantry replacement training system had not 
been designed to train a man so thoroughly that he could 
step directly from the training center into a strange 
infantry unit in combat. It was originally contemplated 
that Marine operations would be of short duration. 
Marines would make an amphibious assault to seise an 
advance base, then would be relieved by garrison troops 

(28) Annex R (27th Mars) to 5thMarDiv Iwo Jima SAR, 
28Apr45, HistBr, HQMC. 


to rehabilitate repare for further operations. In 
the interval between action, there would be time to re- 
ceive replacements and to integrate them into the units. 

It was not until the Marianas operation that pro- 
visions were made to replace losses during an operation. 
For Saipan, this was an afterthought. Original plans did 
not provide for replacements. After the operation was 

underway, the plan was reconsidered and a hasty call was 

sent out for immediate replacements. 

The Peleliu operation, where an infantry regiment 
suffered such heavy losses in the first week that it had 
to be withdrawn, served to confirm the necessity for 
planning the replacement of losses curing combat. For 
the Iwo Jima operation, therefore, each division was pro- 
vided two replacement drafts, to be used initially to 

augment the shore party, then to be released as individual 

combat replacements. 

Had the members of these replacement drafts completed 

the full cycle of training in Training Centers, they would 

have been well-grounded in basic infantry subjects, for 

the program set forth in the 4 July 1944 directive was 

(29) Encl F (G-l) to TF 56 Rpt on FORAGER, 20ct44, HistBr, 

(30) Maj Frank 0. Hough, The Assault on Peleli u 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1950~)~. 

(31) LtCol W. S. Bartley, Iwo Jima : Amphibiou s Epic 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954), 35-36. 


basically sound. * But this was not the case. So gr 
was the demand for replacements, that few men were able 
to complete the 12-week cycle prescribed by the 4 July 
directive. Of the two replacement drafts attached to the 
5th Marine Division, the 27th had received eight to 10 
weeks training and the 31st only five to six weeks. 
The 3^th Replacement Draft received only four of the 
prescribed 12 weeks infantry training, and the 28th 
departed for the Pacific with training deficiencies in 
almost all infantry subjects. 

There was, in addition, a psychological problem 
involved in replacement training which was almost impossi- 
ble to solve. As Major General Oscar R. Cauldwell, Com- 
manding General, Training Command, Camp Pendleton, put 
it, "I found it very difficult to appeal to replacements. 
They were no longer recruits looking forward with pride 
to becoming Marines, nor did they belong to any organization, 
They were individual students in a vast school system. . . . 
Men in newly-formed combat units automatically adopt.,. 
teamwork. .. .Such a desire was superficial among replace- 
ments because they knew they would finally be members of 
a different organisation in combat.' 1 

(32) CG FMP SDA itr to CMC, l4Mar45, 1975-60-20. 

(33) Interview MaJ Charles S, Nichols, lSep^. Ann?:: A 
(Administration) to pthMarDiv Iwo Jima f>AR, KistBr, HQMC. 
Readiness Rpts, 28th and 34th Repl Drafts, ^-Uj a n45. 
HistBr, HQMC. ' 

(34) MajGen 0. R. Cauldwell Itr to CMC, 27Feb56, HistBr, 



The lor .on the departure of replace- 

ments from the training; centers and their assignment to 
combat units also ;;.-:; »d to undo much that they had 
learned in training. The intensive training in a great 
many unfamiliar subjects compressed into a short time 
was quickly forgotten during the long voyage on trans- 
ports and longer periods performing labor duties in 
various camps overseas. No adequate training program 
for replacements was provided to keep up their knowledge 
during this period. 

The breakdown in infantry replacement training can- 
not be attributed to the personnel or training program 
of the Training Centers. The training scheduled for 
infantry replacements was probably as good as could be 
provided in the time allotted. That trainees were 
shipped out before they completed the prescribed train- 
ing resulted from the pressing personnel requirements 
in the theater of operations. Over this the training 
centers had no control. Nor were they responsible for 
the feeding of their graduates into units engaged in 
combat. Training center personnel were responsible for 
conducting an individual replacement ig system. 
This they did to the best of their ability. Inherent 
shortcomings of the replacement system could not be 
attributed to them and could only be cured by adopting a 
different method for replacing combat los. 

(35) Ibid . 



The Marine Corps traditionally has been a fight- 
ing service. It has constantly sought to put the greatest 
possible number of men on the firing line and to hold su] 
porting functions to a minimum. But the amphibious warfare 
of World War II was a complex and exacting science. To 
make a successful assault on a heavily defended enemy shore 
and to support the operations of the assaulting force, 
called for a high order of technical skill in a great 
variety of specialties. No fewer than 21 occupational 
fields were employed by the Marine Corps for personnel 
classification, and each of these fields contained a numl 
of individual specialties. The table below shows the sp 
cialist fields and the number of men classified in each 
17 July 19^5. 

Formal schools were extensively employed for at least 
some of the training in most of these fields. Their value 
was clearly recognized at an early date. Writing of 
engineer training in March 1942, the Director of the 
Division of Plans and Policies pointed out that :! the 
training of engineer specialists should, be accomplished 
at the Engineer School for the following reasons: 

a. More uniformity in instruction; 

b. Greater economy of equipment...,; 

c. Better utilization of available training tiro 

d. Easier control of trained personnel." 1 

(1) P&P memo 10381 to CMC, 6Mar42, 1520-30-70. 








Administrative and 



























4 . 2 



1 1 , : 















- - 






Public Information 










Special Services 




fair hibian 





Training Aids 










(2) Tabulation dtd 17Jul45, in Procedures Analysis Branch, 
Personnel Dept, HOMC. Occupational fields are described 
in U. S. Marine Cor] ual of Military Occupational 
Specialties (Washington? Government Printing Office, 1948) 


Formal schools were nothing new to the Marine Corps, 
of course. They had been employed for specialist train- 
ing for many years, and, during the short-of-war period, 
had been considerably expanded. By December 194l there 
were courses in the following occupational fields % 
administration, band, communications, engineer, food, 
motor transport, ordnance , photographic, supply, and 
tank and LVT. J 

Wartime expansion of the Marine Corps stimulated 
the demand for specialists,, By April 1942 formal school 
facilities had been expanded to include courses in barrage 
balloon, parachute , chemical warfare, landing boats, and 


the Japanese language „ Da the well established occu- 
pational fields 9 additional courses had been organized, 

notably the radar operators' and maintenance courses in 

the communications field. 

The expansion of formal specialist training continued 

throughout the war„ By 1945 instruction in intelligence 

and disbursing had been added to the occupational fields 

represented by fori*: ,: in 1942 . A classification 

course was added to the administrative field; bridging, 

carpentry, electrician, photogrammetry, photolithography, 

relief mapping, and shore party courses to the engineer 

(3) See Chap 3 of this History. 

(4) These courses were listed under the miscellaneous 

(5) Ltr of Instr 121, 2?Apr42. 


field j and dog training and post exchange accounting to 
the miscellaneous field . 

Numbers of occupational fields and courses cannot, 
however , give a complete picture of the extent of formal 

specialist training in the Marine Corps during World 
War II. The number of students attending these schools 

would be more accurate. Unfortunately, complete school 
attendance figures are not available, but some idea of 
the magnitude of the formal specialist school problem 
may be gained from the numbers of Marines assigned 
directly from recruit training at Parris Island to formal 
schools o 

The following tab.: ;he available data. 







Total to Ground Duty 
Number to Formal School 
Per cent to Formal School 












(6) P. Tut tie and Cornelius P. Turner, A Guide 

) the atlon of ' " 'i"nce in the ri 6 

SeryfcesHfWashingtonY" ~'Amev\ ■..•(•■no il on E'du Ya't ' . n 3 
T^5^T- "This data was compiled during 1944 and 1945 and 
was published in installments during those years. First 
complete printing was in 1946. 

(7) CG MB PI itrs to CMC, 17Apr43, l6jul43, 17Sep43, 
l80ct43, all 1^20-30, CO RD PI Itr to CG MB PI, 25Jun42, 


Facilities for Training 

After Pearl Harbor, the facilities for training 
specialists continued to be a combination of Marine, Army, 
Navy, and civilian schools . During the initial mobili- 
zation phase, the Marine Corps relied heavily on the other 
military services and on civilian institutions. In April 
1942, only 39 per cent of available courses were conducted 
in Marine schools. Army schools accounted for 32 per 
cent, Navy schools for eight per cent, and civilian 


institutions for the remaining 13 per cent,' 

An analysis by occupational fields shows that there 
were Marine courses in all but one of the fields in which 
formal specialist training was provided. The missing 
field was photography. The Army enrolled Marines in 
courses representing the chemical warfare, engineer, 
motor transport, ordnance, communications, and tank 
fields. Of these, courses at the basic level were offered 
in motor transport, tank, and ordnance. In the other 
fields, courses were more advanced in nature and required 
some previous knowledge of the subject. The Navy courses 
represented the ordnance, communications, and parachute 
fields. All but the parachute course and one of the two 
courses in communications were on an advanced level. In 
civilian schools, courses were offered in the engineer, 
motor transport, ordnance, photographic, communications, 

(8) Ltr of Instr 121, 27Apr42. 


and landing boat fields. Of these, photography, motor 
transport ig boats were at the basic level. 

were advance-'. (£ Table I for course 
facilities on 27 April 1942). 

Expansion of Marine Corps schools during the war 
resulted in a drastic reduction in the use of other than 
Marine facilities for training. By 1945, 72 per cent of 
all specialist courses were given in Marine schools. The 
Army's participation had dropped to seven per cent, while 

the Navy's had increased to 11 per cent. Civilian 

institutions accounted for the remainder. The Mar3_ne 

Corps now offered courses In all the occupational fields 

in which formal specialist training was conducted. The 
Army contribution had dwindled to engineer, ordnance, 
and combat dog training. All Army courses were at the 
basic level „ The Navy had. expanded its offering of 
educational opportunities to Marines since April 1942. 
Courses were now available in six occupational fields - 
ordnance, administration, engineer, communications, 
photography, and par Sging. The communications 
and engineer courses were on the advanced level. The 
remainder were basic. Courses in the communications, 

motor transport, and tank fields were offered in civilian 

1945) . 

institutions. (See Table II for course facilities in 

(9) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Cit . 

(10) Ibid 


larlne schools were located at specially organ- 
ized training centers. Located where adequate areas for 
field problems and exercises and the latest in training 
aids were available, the training centers were designed 
for efficient instruction in technical skills. 

The Quantico training center, the only one in ex- 
istence at the outbreak of hostilities, soon proved 
inadequate. On 23 May 1942, the Commandant directed the 
establishment of an additional training center at Camp 
Lejeune. Originally conceived as a replacement and unit 
training organization, it was soon expanded to include 
specialist schools as well. The first of these was the 
Parachute School, organized on 15 June 1942. Within five 
months, the number of specialist schools at C ,ejeune 
was increased by the transfer from Quantico of the 
Engineer and Motor Transport Schools, This move, dictated 
by a housing shortage at Quantico, left the Training Cent 
at that base with only the Ordnance School. The admini^- 
trative problems involved in supervising this one remain- 
ing school were not sufficient to justify a training 
center organization. Accordingly, the Training Center, 
Quantico, was deactivated, and the Ordnance School was 
placed directly under the Command 5ns; General, Marine 

(11) CMC ltr to CG, Rear Echelon, W, 23May42, 
quoted in "Administrative History of Camp Lejeune, N. C," 
22Aug46 (MS, HiatBr, HQMC). P&P memo 11054 to CMC, 70ct42, 
1520-30-135. Memo of phone conversation, Col C. H. Metcalf 
and Col W. W. Rogers, 17Aug42, 1520-30. 


In addition to these schools from the Training 
Center at Quant ico, three others, which had previously- 
been administered directly by the Commanding General, 
Marine Barracks, Quant ico, were also transferred to the 
New River Training Center. These included the Signal 
School, with its component radio, field telephone, and 

radar courses, the Cooks and Bakers School, and the School 


of Quartermaster Administration. 

During these same months, a generally parallel de- 
velopment of training centers was taking place on the 
west coast o At the time of Pearl Harbor, there was no 
Marine Corps training center on the west coast, although 
some formal schools were conducted at the Marine Corps 
Base, San Diego, and by the 2d Marine Division for its 
own personnel at nearby Camp Elliott. It was realized 
that additional traini cilities would be required 
to take care of the needs of a rapidly expanding Marine 
Corps. Accordingly, the PMP Training Center was organized 
at Camp Elliott on 20 April 19^2 for the purpose of train- 
ing specialists and infantry replacements. However, 
during the first few months of its existence, the Training 

Center was occupied with training infantry battalions 


which were later combined to form the 22d Marines. 

(12) Ibid .; and CG MB Quantico Itr to CMC, 19Sep42, 

(13) Frederick R. Jones, "A Training Center Chronicle" 
(MS, HistBr, HQMC). 


On 22 May 1942, the Commandant issued a directive 

specifying the specialist schools to be organized at the 


Camp Elliott Training Center. 

Facilities at Camp Elliott proved inadequate to ac- 
commodate all these specialist schools and the replace- 
ment training organizations as well. To relieve this 
overcrowding, specialist schools were then moved to the 
newly activated Camp Pendleton, beginning in February 
1942. In June 1944, the release of Camp Elliott to the 

Navy led to the transfer also of replacement training 

activities to Camp Pendleton,, 

These training centers had been intended to accommo- 
date all specialist training activities in the Marine 
Corps, but, in actual practice, they were never large 
enough to do so. Some 15 courses could not be accommo- 
dated at the training centers „ They were located on 
posts and stations, wherever facilities were available, 
as indicated below? 

1. Music Schools (band, field music) 

Marine Barracks, Parris Island 
Marine Corps Base, San Diego 

2. Signal School 

Marine Corps Base, San Diego 

(14) CMC ltr to CG PhibCorpsPacFlt, 22May42, 2385/60. 
The enclosure to this letter giving the list of special- 
ist schools cannot be located. 

(15) CG FMF in SDA ltr to CMC, 26Nov42, 2385/70-6410. 
FMF SDA SO 16-43, 23Jan43, 2385/70-6410. Pendleton Hist. 


3o Clerical Schools (clerical, 1st sgts) 

Marine Barracks , Navy Yard, Philadelphia 
Marine Corps Base, San Diego 

4. Mess Schools (cooks and bakers, mess ;ta) 

Marine Corps Base, San Diego 
Marine Barracks, Parris Island 

(cooks and bakers only) 
Marine Barracks, Quant i«r> 

5. Ordnance Schools 

Marine Barracks, Quantico 

(Ordnance Repair) 
Marine Corps Base, San Diego 

( Armorers ) 
Depot of Supplies, Philadelphia 

(Armorers, Optical Instr) 
Depot of Supplies, San Francisco 


6. Motor Vehicle Mechanic 

Depot of Supplies, Philadelphia 

7. Quartermaster 

Depot of Supplies, Philadelphia 

(Shoe and textile repair) 

8. Amphibian Tractor 

Marine Amphibian Tractor Detachment, 
, Dunedin, Florida 

Length of Training 

The length of instruction In formal specialist 
schools decreased slightly during the course of the war. 
In April 1942 the median length of all courses offered . 
was 10 weeks. Courses ranged in length from two to 
36 weeks, but they were heavily concentrated in the 
lower third of the range . Out of 62 courses, only seven 


exceeded 12 weeks. By 1945, the median length for the 
83 available courses had decreased to eight weeks. The 
longest course was 27 weeks, and the shortest three. 


April 1942 16 

1945 17 


Number of 


Number of 












13 • 







X ? 






(16) Ltr of Instr 121, 27Apr42 

(17) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Cit. 


' ■ ■;":, 

The mas;:; production of technical specialists during 
World War II created a serious problem in the selection 
of students . Of the thousands of Marines completing 
recruit training each month, which ones should be chosen 
to make up the approximately 40 per cent to receive 
further training in formal specialist schools and how 
were they to be chosen? 

At the outset of the war, the Marine Corps had in 
effect a selection system based on three criteria: 
education, previous experience, and aptitude. Of the 
three, only the first could be measured objectively. 
A definite level of academic achievement was often 
stated as a prerequisite for certain courses, e.g., two 
years of high school, four years of high school, or 
perhaps two years of college. The candidate might also 
be required to have completed certain courses, e.g., 
high school mathematics, physics, etc. There was no 
objective measurement of the other two requirements. 
A man might be required to state that he had been a 
carpenter or auto mechanic in civilian life, but he was 
not obliged to prove his ability by any sort of test. 
Where aptitude was a prerequisite, the judgment of the 
commanding officers was employed to advantage in cases 
where students were selected from organized units. A 
subjective measurement of aptitude for a large number 


of men Just completing recruit training, however, was 
of little value. 

One exception to the general rule was communications 
training. Written examinations in mathematics, spelling, 
code, tone perception, and general intelligence were 

There was little change in selection procedures 
during the first year of war. As in the short-of-war 
period, great stress was put on subjective evaluations 
under such categories as "mechanical aptitude" and 
"previous experience." Both were required for about 
30 per cent of the specialist courses listed on 27 April 
19^2. There was a corresponding minimum of formal test- 
ing, either of aptitude or knowledge of subject matter. 
Only eight per cent of the courses listed such a re- 
quirement. Education was an Important qualification, 
appearing for about 40 per cent of the courses. However, 
in only one instance was education beyond the high school 
level required. A high school diploma was a prerequisite 
for admission to specialist schools in about 15 per cent 
of the cases, and some high school education in a slightly 
larger number. ' Finally, a definite amount of prior service 
or a specified rank was required for nearly 30 per cent of 
the courses. 




27 APRIL 19^2 e 18 

Civilian and/or Mil i t ary Experience in 
Field Required 

(formal schooling not a prerequisite) 

- 21 Courses 


Infantry Weapons 

Motor Vehicle Operators 




Artillery Mechanic 

Optical Instrument 

Optical Operators 

Blacksmithing and 


Fire Control Electricians 

AA Training Center 

Hercules Motors 


AA Director 

Motorcycle Mechanic 


Fire Control (primary) 

Radar Maintenance 


arrage Balloon 

2 years High School ------------ 6 Courses 

Optical Operators 
Hercules Motors 
High School Education 
Infantry Weapons 
Radar Operators 
Elementary Radar 

Fire Control (primary) 
Gunnery Instructors 

Fire Control Electricians 
........11 Courses 

Parachute Riggers 
Artillery Mechanic 

Searchlight and Sound Locator 


2 years College Math --------- 

Topographic Computing 

High School Math, including algebra _ 
and arit hmetic 

Elementary Radar Drafting 

Fire Control (advanced) Demolition 

Water Purification Surveying 

Heavy Mechanical Equipment 

Water Distillation and Purification 

"Mechanical Aptitude" 

1 Course 

8 Courses 

20 Cour 

Optical Operators 

Infantry Weapons 

Hercules Motors 

Parachute Riggers 

.imphibian Tractor 


Tank Mechanic 

Automotive Mechanic 

Optical Instrument 

Wheeled Vehicle 

Tank Destroyer 

Landing Boats 

Tractor School 


Gunnery Instructor 

Field Telephone 

Barrage Balloon 


Artillery Mechanic 

Water Distillation 
and Purification 


Water Purification 


Tank Destroyer 

Map Reproduction 
and Photography 

.-„_____ 9 Courses 


Fire Control Electricians 


Searchlight and 
Sound Locator 

Heavy Mechanical Equipment 






Barrage Balloon 

Tank Mechanic 

Gunnery Instructors 

Amphibian Tractor 

Wheeled Vehicle Maintenance 

Prerequisite Specialist Course ------ 

5 Courses 

Teletype Maintenance 

Fire Control (adv 

Searchlight ai 
Sound Locator 

Electric Interior 

Telephone Electricians 

Entrance Exam or Classification Test - - - 



Radio Operators 

Field Telephone 

Telephone Electricians 


Quartermaster School of 




Fire Control (l year) (primary) 

Clerical (8 month 

Rank of Sergeant or Platoon Sergeant - - - 



First Sergeants School 

Five courses required written entrance examinations „ 
Three of these which were in communications had done so 

for many years , using the same system of testing in 19^2 

as in 1939 » The Quartermaster School of Administration, 

(18) Ltr of Instr 12; ?42. 

(19) See Chap 3 of this History. 


when it transferred to Quantico in February 1942, began 
testing general knowledge and aptitude. Included were 
simple tests in arithmetic, spelling, typing, English 
composition, and the O'Rourke General Classification 
Test. 2v For the aerology course, which was run by the 

Navy, prospective students were given the Army Air Force 

Classification Test, 

These admission standards, the written tests and 
the experience and educational attainments, were not an 
unqualified success, particularly in the selection of 
large numbers of Marines just completing recruit training. 
The Marine Corps 1 experience with the Navy electronics 
program illustrated some of the difficulties encountered. 

The Navy agreed to accept 140 Marine students per 
month at its two Elementary Electricity and Radio Material 
(EE & RM) Schools beginning on 23 April 1942. The purpose 
of the EE and RM schools was to give basic training to 
radar personnel. To meet the quota, students were se- 
lected from men completing recruit training. Standards 
for selection were? a high school diploma, including two 
years of algebra; a score of 70 per cent on the O'Rourke 
General Classification Teet; a similar score on the Marine 
Communication School mathematics test; and a satisfactory 
score on the General Electrical Information Test. 

(20) Dir Sch of M Admin ltr to CMC, 7Mar42, 1520-30-180-40. 

(21) Ltr of Instr 121, 2?Apr42. 


Results from the first group of men selected were 
far from satisfactory „ "Marines assigned to the school," 
wrote the Commanding Officer, Naval Training School, 
Grove City, Pennsylvania, "are in a large majority not 
suited for this particular training and openly resent 

being forced to study the course . This results from 

improper selection/' In response, the Commanding 

General, Recruit Depot, Parris Island, pointed out that 
the selection system was primarily at fault. The re- 
quirement for two years of high school algebra was of 
little value because of the wide variations in material 
covered among the different schools,, The O'Rourke test, 
as it did not measure education, was of little value in 
selecting radar students. The Marine Communication School 
arithmetic test was thought to be too easy. Only the 
general electrical information test was considered to be 
useful 23 

A new set of examinations was adopted in an effort 
to improve the quality of Marine radar students „ Included 

were a mathematics test and a physics test. The general 

electrical information test was retained. 

(22) CO Naval Trng Sch, Grove City, Pa., Itr to CMC, 
19Jun42, 1520-35=70. 

(23) CO RD PI Itr to CMC, 25Jun42, 1520-35-70. 

(24) CMC Itr to CG PI, 3Jul42, 1520-35-70. 


While these specific modifications in the method 
for choosing radar students were being made, a compre- 
hensive system of selection of students for all special- 
ist schools was being worked out at Headquarters Marine 
Corps, Realizing that there was no effective method for 
cataloging the skills or aptitudes of Marines, the 
Commandant had directed that an adequate classification 
system be developed . Because the Army had already de- 
veloped a workable scheme, the Marine Corps adopted it 

with minor modifications to meet its own needs. J 

The new system went into effect in October 1942. 

Under it, each recruit entering the Marine Corps was to 

take the Army General Classification and Mechanical 

Aptitude Tests . He was also to be interviewed by a 

personnel specialist regarding his civilian background 

and experience . The results of tests and interview for 

each man were recorded on a qualification card. The 

information contained on the card could then be used as 

the basis for assigning military specialties, catalogued 

by number and title in an Army manual adopted for Marine 

use. As an individual gained additional experience, his 

military specialty numbers were adjusted accordingly. 

(25) MaJ W. M. Rossiter, lecture notes in Procedures 
Analysis Br, Personnel Dept, HQMC. 

(26) Ltr of Instr 266, 26Nov42, 1955-20. 


With the adoption of the personnel classification 
system, certain minimum scores in the General Classifi- 
cation and Mechanical Aptitude Tests became a prerequisite 
for admission to most specialist schools. 

Some measure of the effectiveness of the new tests 
as standards for selection for specialist training was 
provided by a study of the class entering the Ordnance 
School on 8 February 1943 „ As the process of classifi- 
cation had not been completed throughout the Marine Corps, 
only 60 of 133 students had been classified. Of this 
number, only ten, or 17 per cent, failed to graduate. 

By comparison, 30, or 41 per cent, of the 73 unelassi- 

fied students flunked out. 

In all the Marine formal schools, the classification 
system was an outstanding success as the basis for select- 
ing students „ It cut the rate of academic failures from 
40 to 5 per cent. 

(27) CO Ord Sen Itr to CMC, 12Mar43, 1520-30-180-25. 

(28) Capt Leslie P„ Pultze, lecture to conference of 
G-l representatives, 0ct49. Titles "Organization and 
Installation of Present Marine Corps Classification 
oystern." In Procedures Analysis Br, Personnel Dept, 



APRIL 1942 29 





Administrative and Clerical 








First Sergeant 









Field Music 








Automatic Electric 

Electric Interior 




Field Telephone 








Radar, Elementary 




Radar, Maintenance 




Radar, Operator 




Telephone Electrician 




Teletype Maintenance 




Special Communication 












Radio Material 




Radio Operators 










Mar Corps 












Heavy Mechanical Equipment 




Map Reproduction 
















Topographic Computing 




Water Distillation and 



Basic | 

Water Purification 




Welding and Blacksmithing 








Cooks and Bakers 

Motor Transport 




Automotive Mechanic 

Diesel Mechanic 




Motorcycle Mechanic 




Motor Vehicle Operator 




Tractor Mechanic 




Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic 


















AA Director 








Artillery Me 




Artillery Mechanic 




Bomb Disposal 




Fire Control 




Fire Control 




Fire Control Electrician 




Infantry Weapons 
(fire control) 




Optical Instrument 




Optical Instrument 




Optical Instrument 




Searchlight and Sound 



















Tank and LVT 




Amphibian Tractor 

Tank Destroyer 




Tank Gunnery Instructor 




Tank Mechanic 








Barrage Balloon 

Chemical Warfare 



Fire Department 




Gas Mask Repair 




Landing Boat 




Japanese Language 






Parachute Rigger 








(29) Ltr of In : 121, 27Apr42 



19 4 5 30 





Administrative and Clerical 




Classification Specialist 










: . t?( 








Field Music 








Central Office Repairman 

Field Telephone 




Radar Operator 




Radar Technician 




Radio Operator 




Radio Technician 




Radio , Primary 




Radio Material, Field Sets 




Radio Material, Advanced 




Radio Maintenance 




Radio -Telephone Mechanics 







Length , 

■ ■ "■■" 


: uring 







Mar Corps 































Electrician* s Mate 




Engineer Equipment 




Field Electricity 




Machine Shop 












Photo topography 




Relief Mapping 








Shore Party 













Utilities Refresher 

Mar Corps 



Water Distillation and 




Water Purification 




Water Supply- 












Cooks and Bakers, Primary- 

Cooks and Bakers, Advanced 




Mess Management 








Combat Intelligence 

Motor Transport 




Automotive Mechanic 

Diesel Engine Mechanic 




Diesel Tractor Mechanic 



Ba s i c 

Motor Vehicle Operator 




Stockroom Procedure 









Artillery Mechanic 




Bomb Disposal 






Chief Ordnanceman, 
Chief Ordnanceman, Fire 
Control, Heavy- 
Chief Ordnanceman, Fire 
Control, Light 

Fire Control, Systems 

Fire Control, Systems 

Fire Control, Directors 

Fire Control, Directors 

Fire Control, Electrical 

Fire Control, Electrical 

Instrument Technician 

Munition Technician 

Machinist ' s Mate 

Optical Repair 

Watch Repair 



Sound Motion Picture 




Mar Corps 
Mar Corps 


Mar Corps 































Length , 



Tank and LVT 

LVT Operator 




LVT Maintenance 

Mar Corps 



LVT(A) Gunnery- 




Tank Gyre-stabilizer 




Turret Accessories 








Dog Trainers 

Dog Trainers 




Parachute Rigger 




Post Exchange Bookkeeping 




(30) Tut tie and Turner, Op. Cit 



Initial Expansion 

On 7 December 19^1 3 the Marine Corps was operating 
two separate basic officer training programs. The Basic 
School, which all newly commissioned regular officers 
attended, was conducting one seven month course per year. 
The Officer Candidates' Class (OCC) and the Reserve 
Officers' Course (ROC), established to train reserve 
officers for the expanding Marine Corps of the short-of- 
war period, offered a combined course. of 30 weeks. This 
latter program, which accounted for 6j per cent of the 
560 officers commissioned during fiscal 19^1, had become 
the major source for new Marine officers. When the 
entry of the United States into the war created a demand 
for vastly increased officer procurement, it was the 
OCC-ROC program which was expanded to meet the new offi- 
cer training requirements. 

A telephone call a few days after the declaration of 
war from the Division of Plans and Policies at Headquarters 
Marine Corps to Marine Corps Schools at Quantico set in 
motion the planning for a basic officer training program 
adequate to meet wartime needs. In response, Brigadier 
General S. M. Harrington, Commandant of the Marine Corps 

(1) See Part I of this History, 

Schools, presented two proposals. Under the first plan, 
the number of candidates' classes would be increased from 
three to four per year, the number of students in each 
class would be enlarged from 400 to 450, and the length 
of candidates' classes and reserve officers' classes 
would be reduced from 14 to 12 weeks. No increase in 
staff or training facilities would be required. Output 

of ROC would climb from the current 900 per year to 

. a gain of 50 per cent. 

The other plan called for conducting three classes, 
each of 800 candidates, per year. Under this plan, ad- 
ditional instructors and expanded training facilities 
would be required, both in the candidates' class and the 
reserve officers' class. An output of approximately 
1,900 per year, or double the current rate, could be 

Neither of these proposals was adopted. Faced with 
demands for 3,000 new officers during fiscal 194.3, the 
Commandant adopted a block system prepared in the Divi- 
sion of Plans and Policies. Beginning 1 May 1942, with 
the sixth class, a new candidates* class would begin 
every four weeks. As the course of instruction was to 
be 12 weeks long, three classes would be undergoing in- 
struction at all times. On 1 August the 10th claes would 
inaugurate the same three block system for the ROC.' 1 

(°) ciics b • t CMC; ...:-. c4i; 1520-30; 
(: } i\ 1 . 

(4) Dir P&P memo to CMC, !01?6., 8jan42, V -120. 

226; for pffle&r? to lead the rapidly expanding 
Marine Corps were immediate, however* The procurement 
of new officers could not wait until the block system 
began to function in the summer of 1942. Asi a temporar 
expedient, the officer school schedule for the remaind 
of fiscal 1942 was speeded up. Graduation date for the 
regular Basic School class then in session at Philadelphia 
was set ahead two weeks, from 1 February to 15 Janur> ,r ;•■-. 
The special Basic School class (12 weeks) for reserve- 
officers ordered to active duty, originally scheduled to 
open on 1 March, began in Philadelphia on 15 January, 
immediately upon the graduation of the regular class. 
This was to be followed by another special reserve offi- 
cers' class. With the graduation of this last class on 
31 July, the Basic School was to be disbanded and its 
faculty transferred to the Marine Corps Schools to help 
run the Reserve Officers' Course under the block system. 
The fourth candidates' class, aue to graduate on 1 March, 
was rushed through to completion on 1 P« , four 
weeks ahead of schedule, to be followed by a ten we 
course, the fifth. Beginning on 10 April with the si bh 
class, the candidates 1 class was to be stabilized at 12 
weeks. The sixth reserve officers' course, scheduled 
for a 15 February graduation, was accelerated to finish 
on 31 January. Subsequent classes were to be organized 
on the same schedule as the candidates 1 class, 

(5) Dir P&P memos to CMC, 9250, 10Jun4l, and 10196, 
8Jan42. CMC ltr to CMCS, 26Dec4l. All 1520-30-160. 

As adoption of the block system would overburden 
the existing facilities at Marine Corps Schools, General 
Harrington advised the Commandant that he would need an 
additional barracks building to quarter the additional 
students and three new classroom buildings each with a 
seating capacity of 200. Of equal importance was the 
need for a greatly enlarged military reservation at 
Quantico for more realistic field training. 

Shortages of trained instructors were also a serious 
problem. For the reserve officers' course, 3^ additional 
instructors would be needed to continue the small train- 
ing platoons of the prewar type, a system which gave each 
student numerous opportunities to act as platoon leader 
in field exercises and offered the platoon instructor a 
better opportunity to evaluate the leadership qualities 
of each student. 

The build-up of the Marine Corps Schools to meet 
the anticipated training burdens of the block system was 
still incomplete when General Holcomb on 20 March directed 
General Harrington to put a revised block system into 
effect on 6 April, three weeks ahead of schedule. Under 
the new school system, OCC and ROC classes would be con- 
ducted on a ten week schedule, with a new class entering 
every five weeks. Two classes would be in attendance at 
Quantico at all times. 

(6) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10196, 8Jan42, 1520-30-120. 
CMCS ltr to CMC, 8Jan42, 1520-30. CO ROC memo to CMCS, 
Uan42, 1520-30 MCS. 


With the adoption of the new system for OCC and ROC 
on 6 April and the discontinuing of the Basic School three 
months later, the basic officer training program was stabi- 
lized at 20 weeks. A ten-week reduction from the prewar 
program inevitably led to a decrease in the quality of 
officer training. Reporting on the sixth class, the com- 
manding officer of the OCC recommended that the two lost 
weeks be restored to the schedule as soon as possible. 

Additional landing exercises, firing problems with all 

infantry weapons, and field exercises could then be given. 

A similar problem existed in the ROC. General 

Harrington urged the Commandant to increase the course 

to 12 weeks. "It is believed," he wrote, "that the goal 

to be sought in the Reserve Officers' Course includes 

sufficient platoon exercises so that each student, at 

least once, commands a platoon in an exercise in which 

he must estimate, make a decision and plan, and then 

conduct the exercise. This cannot be accomplished in 

the present course of ten weeks." 

At Headquarters Marine Corps, the need for addi- 
tional field exercises, particularly tactical exercises 
with live ammunition, was recognized, but more time could 
not be added to the basic officer training program in view 
of the urgent need for additional officers. 

(7) CO 6th OCC ltr to CMCS, l6jun42, 1520-30-120. 

(8) CMCS ltr to CMC, 22Jun42, 1520-30-120. 


Lack of time was not the only obstacle to realistic 
field training. At Quant ico, there was no area where 
tactical exercises with live ammunition could be conducted, 
A plan, developed in the Division of Plans and Policies 
at Headquarters Marine Corps, to transfer each OCC class 
to New River for intensive field training during the last 
half of the course was dropped in favor of the aquisition 
of additional land at Quantico. Negotiations were under- 
taken and resulted in the addition of the 50,000 acre 
Guadalcanal area in the fall of 1942. 

The recruiting of enough officer candidates to fill 
the ranks of the expanded school system was another seri- 
ous problem for the Commandant and his staff. An am- 
bitious program for signing up 9,000 college students 
during the spring of 1942 fell short of its goal by almost 
60 per cent, so the standards were altered to permit 
qualified enlisted men to become officer candidates. 

The admission into OCC of large numbers of enlisted 
men created a new training problem. There were now candi- 
dates from two sources. Those from the ranks had acquired 
varying amounts of military skill. They all had at least 
been through recruit training, and many of them were ex- 
perienced NCO's with several years service in the FMF. 
Men picked from college campuses, on the other hand, 
arrived at Quantico with no previous military training. 

(9) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10639, 26May42, 1520-30-120, 
CMC ltr to CMCS, 30Jun42, 1520-30-160. 


Attempts to arrange a course to accommodate both groups 
satisfied neither. The resulting course was too diffi- 
cult for one group and too elementary for the other. 

As a solution, the Director of the Division of Plans 
and Policies proposed that all candidates from civil life 
go through the recruit training cycle before reporting to 
Quantico for CCC. An additional advantage was that the 
level of training at Quantico could be raised. By elimi- 
nating the necessity for teaching elementary subjects in 
OCC, more advanced instruction of the type then offered 
in ROC could be given. The ROC curriculum, in turn, 
could be broadened to include still more advanced subjects. 

The disadvantages, however, outweighed the advantage;.;. 
Candidates had already been recruited from college cam- 
puses and enlisted as privates first class in an inactive 
status pending assignment to OCC. To assign them to 
recruit depots might have an adverse effect on the morale 
of other recruits who were basic privates. More important, 
American manpower was becoming limited. To add a recruit 
cycle to their training would delay the graduation of 
urgently needed officers. The Commandant accordingly 
ruled against this proposal. 

Another proposal originating in the Division of 
Plans and Policies was to combine the OCC and ROCin a 
single course. A saving in administrative overhead at 

(10) Ibid. 


uantico would ?eault, but the Marine Corps wa:; already 
committed to the college men enlisted in the existing 
proeram. They had enlisted on the understanding that 
they would be commissioned upon the completion of the 
OCC. Rather than take an action which might be inter- 
preted as a breach of faith, the proposal to merge the 
two courses was dropped. 

This first over-all reappraisal of the basic offi- 
cer training program produced no immediate results, 
although its major recommendations, a single course 
combining OCC and ROC, and recruit training for all offi- 
cer candidates, were eventually accepted. 

Before either of these changes was introduced, staff 
officers at Quantico and in Washington had to step up the 
output of new officers to meet urgent demands for troop 
leaders in the field. A Division of Plans and Policies 
estimate of 27 July placed the shortage at 400 by 1 January 
1943, necessitating an increase of approximately 50 per 
cent in output of the candidates' program. Two proposals 
were considered. The first of these was to continue the 
two block system already in effect with each class in- 
creased to 600 candidates. This plan would produce 4,784 
second lieutenants a year. The other plan called for a 

(11) Ibid . 

(12) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10817, 27Jul42, 1520-30-120 


five block system, with classes of 275 candidates enter- 
ing every two weeks. This latter plan, which would turn 
out approximated 5,460 second lieutenants a year, was 
accepted. Considerations of space and faculty, as well 
as higher output, were in favor of the five block system. 

During the first hectic months of wartime mobili- 
zation, the demand for officer:, exceeded the ability of 
Marine Corps Schools to produce them. The slack was taken 
up by granting flelo. promotion* . The Marine f :n^p;: had 
traditionally offered commissions to a few highly quali- 
fied warrant officers and NCO's. After Pearl Harbor, 
the numbers selected from these groups were vastly 
expanded. So extensive was the practice that out of i 

total of 4,210 new general duty officers commissioned 

in 1942, 1,236 received field promotions. 

Recipients of field promotions were not required 
to attend formal schools. Post, station, and organizatioi 
commanders could conduct schools for newly commissioned 
members of their commands, but they were not required to 
do so. Only one such school was organized in the conti- 
nental United States. Located at Camp Elliott, it was 
begun by the 2d Marine Division when it was stationed 
there, and was continued by the Training Center after 
the departure of the division. Operated as an of f icerf; ' 

(13) Francis, Op. Cit . , 79. 

(14) M-3 Op Diary, 7Dec4l-31Dec44, HistBr, HQMC. 

candidate class, men took the course I Lng offi- 

cers, and only those who completed it successfully were 
commissioned. 1 As the course was of only four-weeks 
duration, its graduates suffered a severe handicap in 
competition with graduates of ROC. Colonel Lemuel C. 
Shepherd, commanding officer of the 9th Marines, and a 
former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools, 

From personal observation of the gr 
the Reserve Officers' Class, Marine Corp 
Schools as compared with the recently com- 
missioned noncosnmissioned officer candidat . 
who are serving with this regiment, I am of 
the opinion that the professional knowledge 
of the former is far superior to that of the 
latter. This is due to no 'lack of effort on 
the part of the candidates nor the instruct- 
ing staff of the Second Marine Division 
Candidates' School. .. .Prom experience gained 
in organization of the candidates class, 
Marine Corps Schools, and of supervising the 
instruction of the Reserve Officers' Class, 
it is believed that a course of not less than 
twelve weeks is required to teach the technical 
and tactical principles of combat to a junior 
officer. 16 

The OCC-ROC did not escape criticism during this 

same period. Reporting on a visit he made to Quantico 

in October to inspect the 10th OCC, Colonel Emmett W. 

Skinner repeated a criticism which had been made the 

previous spring. "Better officers would be obtained if 

all candidates were required to take. . .recruit training...," 

(15.) Ltr of Instr 185, 17Aug42. 2dMarDivHist, 7Dec4l- 
lMar43, (MS, HistBr, HQMC). Col L. C. Shepherd ltr to 
CMC, llSep42, 1520-30-120. 

(16) Col L. C. Shepherd ltr to CMC, HSep42, 1520-30-120. 


he wrote. "All preliminary training at the Candidates' 
Class could then be done away with, and the two weeks 
now devoted to that could be spent to a great advantage 
in more advanced training in the field...." 

Lengthening the Program 

These critical reactions led to a comprehensive 
review of the basic officer training program. D 'igadier 
General Keller E. Rockey, the Director of the Division 
of Plans and Policies, set the review In motion by so- 
liciting the recommendations of General Harrington and 
the staff of Marine Corps Schools regarding recruit 
training for officer candidates. 

After consulting with his staff, General Harrington 
replied on 26 October 19^2. "The most important con- 
sideration to the Schools," he wrote, "is that the course 
for the candidates and for the ROC be extended to 12 weeks." 
More firing problems, exercises at night, in wooded areas, 
and physical conditioning were highly desirable. More 
important, every student should be given a chance to con- 
duct a troop leading exercise on his own without coaching. 
In the opinion of the Marine Corps staff, the completion 

1 O 

of all these training tasks would require more time. 

General Harrington agreed with Colonel Skinner that 
a satisfactory solution would be to require all candidates 
to take recruit training. Some readjustment could then 

(17) Col E. W. Skinner memo to Col Cummings, 150c t42, 

(18) CMCS memo to BriGen K. E. Rockey, 260ct42, 1520-30-120. 


. subtracting time from the OCC and adding it to 
ROC. The OCC should not be cut too drastically, however. 
"In order to continue work of properly rejecting cant > 
dates who are not considered capable leaders," wrote 
General Harrington, ...we advise that the candidates 1 
class in ^uantico be not reduced below eight weeks." 

Armed with General Harrington's favorable response, 
General Rockey directed the preparation of a suitable 
program of basic officer training to include recruit 
training. His primary concern was whether additional 
time could be devoted to training without upsetting the 
Marine Corps officer procurement schedule. A study from 
the Division of Reserve indicated that there would be a 
shortage of about 434 civilian candidates to put into 

effect a 26-week program made up of eight-weeks recruit 

training, eight-weeks OCC, and 12-weeks R0C o 

To make up the deficiency, two actions were taken. 

First, all field promotions to second lieutenant from 

units in the United States, except at Camp Elliott where 

there was an officer candidates' school, were abolished. 

Those men who were formerly eligible for field promotion 

were now assigned to the OCC at Quantico. Second. 

(19) Ibid . 

(20) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 280ct42, 1520-30-120. 

limited number of recruits were to b > selected by special 
screening boards from among the men completing the recruit 
training at Parris Island and San Diego." 

The Commandant approved this program, and on 7 De- 
cember 1942 , the first group of candidates, those destined 
for the 21st OCC, started the recruit cycle at Parris 
Island. They continued their studies at Quantico on 
26 January 1943 at the first eight week OCC. 22 

", further t< m ion of the tin;- 1 allotted to basic 
officer training became possible during the rammer of 
V V;. Ov/in.^: to a slacking off of the demand for troop 
leaders, it was estimated that there would be an overpro- 
duction of officers by the beginning of 1944. Plans were 
accordingly set in motion to cut down the output of ROC 
to about 300 per month. As a first step, both OCC and 
ROC were to be expanded to 12 weeks. Based on a cycle 
of this length, Marine Corps Schools' staff prepared 
tentative schedules providing for new classes to form in 
each course at two, three, and four week intervals. The 
three-week interval plan, which would result in four 
classes being in session at any given time and would 
produce about 3,600 a year, was cone id:; red the most 

(21) Ibid . 

(22) Rpt of Students, Marine BarrackSj uantico, foi 
month of March 1943, lApr4 >, : 10-30 MCS. 

itisfactory to the Marine Corps Schools staff. The 

mmandant accepted this proposal, and it was put into 

effect on 17 November 1943. 

Officer candidates selected from the NCO ranks had 
I extra hurdle to leap beginning in April 1943. In that 
month, the officer candidate detachments were organized 
in the Training Centers, Camp Elliott and Camp Lejeune. 
The purpose of the detachment was threefold: to select 
the best qualified candidates for further training in 
OCC at Quantico; to train those selected in basic Infantry 
subjects; and to refresh them in mathematics. During the 
eight-week course, candidates went through a review of 
basic training, including arm, hand, and whistle signals; 
Interior guard duty; customs of the service; history and 
traditions of the Corps; the infantry pack; individual 
combat; inspection and drilling of troops; complete fa- 
miliarization with all weapons employed by a Marine rifle 
company; amphibious operations; and physical conditioning. 
Under the head of technical training was included a short 
mathematics refresher course, debarkation drill down 
cargo nets, map reading, use of the phonetic alphabet, 
security training, mess management, Japanese weapons, 
chemical warfare, and current events. Tactical training, 

(23) S-3 MCS memo to Col Worton, 3Uul43, 1520-30 MCS. 

(24) Col W. A. Worton memo to Col R. C. Kilmartin. 
HQMC, 3Uul43, 1520-30 MCS. 


the final category of subjects, included scouting; and 
patrolling, individual camouflage, field fortification:,, 
military phraseology, organization and combat principles 
of the squad, platoon, company battalion, and regiment. 
and Japanese tactics. About 60 per cent of the train- 
ing in these subjects was given in the classroom. The 
remaining 40 per cent was conducted on the range, parade 
ground, and in the field. The instructors kept close 
check on every candidate, and a weekly report was made on 
each. So rigorous was the course that less than 50 , 
cent graduated/"" 

During these same summer months, steps were tal m 
bo improve the auality of officers receiving direct 
coi.imissions. Prom May 19^-2 to May 19^3, 1,27? second 
lieutenants were commissioned by field appointment, 
none of them received any training in an officers' class 
at Marine Corps Schools, it was the feeling at Headquarter 
that these officers commissioned in the field would be of 
greater value to the Marine Corps if they were afforded 
an opportunity to attend the ROC. A program was accord- 
ingly set up to assign from 20 to 30 of them to each ROC 

class. The first of these officers reported at Quantico 

for the 3^th ROC, beginning on 11 August 19^3. 

(25) 2dLt Frederick R. Jones, "A Training Center Chronicle," 
Aug 19^3 (MS, HistBr, HQMC). 

(::")) Dir P&P memo to CMC, II665, 12Jul43. CMC memo to 
CMCS, 30Jul43, both 1520-30-120. Rpt of Student, ROC, 
? Oct '!'<), 1520-30 MC3. 

For warrant officers seeking commissions as second 
lieutenants, a similar program was organized. In March 
1943 warrant officers were permitted to apply for admis- 
sion into the OCC. Only seven applications had been 
received by June. To administer so small a number of 

officers in the OCC wo. Id oviously be impractical. 
An alternative was proposed. Via. -rant officers were to be 
assigned to the ROC and commissioned upon completion of 
the course. As most warrant officers had, in their many 

years of service, mastered the subjects taught at OCC, 

the ROC was considered the proper course for them to take. 

In some instances, officers commissioned in the field 
lacked the infantry background needed for admission into 
ROC. To make sure that they would profit to the maximum 
from the instruction given in ROC, all officers commis- 
sioned by field appointment were assigned to special eight 
week infantry courses in the Training Centers at either 
Lejeune or Pendleton, beginning in May 19^4. Only those 
officers who demonstrated the "requisite physical, mental 
and moral qualifications during the course of instruction" 
were sent on to the ROC at Quantico. Officers not selected 

for ROC were assigned to duty stations without further 

training . 

(27) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 2Jun43, 1520-30-120. 

(28) CMC ltr to CG's TC's, Pendleton and Lejeune, 23May44 

■ ' ■ i.o 

With the establishment of the candidates' detach- 
ments, basic officer training attained its greatest 
length and complexity. The potential officer received 
40 weeks of training in four separate courses. The 
first eight weeks he spent in recruit training, to bo 
followed in succession by eight weeks of pre-OCC, 12 
weeks in OCC, and finally another 12 weeks in ROC. 

The 40-week program was a short-lived one, however. 
Heavy casualties suffered during the Marianas campaign, 
and estimated losses in operations to come, forced a 
reappraisal of officer needs. To meet the increased 
demand, output of new officers from the schools had to 
be speeded up. This was done in two ways. First, by 
establishing a special OCC and ROC at Camp Lejeune; 
second, by shortening the training cycle in the regular 
OCC and ROC at Quantico. 

On 15 July 1944, a special OCC was organized in the 
Training Command at Camp Lejeune. Its purpose was to 
train 430 candidates selected from the Candidates' 
Battalion. These were men waiting assignment to the 
regular OCC at Quantico for whom vacancies were not 
immediately available. They graduated on 30 September 
after 11 -weeks training and were commissioned as second 
lieutenants in the Marine Corps Reserve. The new offi- 
cers then received an additional three weeks of training 


in special ROC's at Lejeune or at Pendleton. Of three 
weeks duration, these courses were conducted for one 

class only 

The reduction of the regular OCC and ROC cycles from 
12 to 10 weeks was directed on 22 July 1944, to take ef- 
fect at once c Courses in session were cut by reducing 
time devoted to each subject by one-sixth. Output of the 
Quantico schools rose from a monthly average of 262 for 
the first half of 1944 to 306 during the last six months. 

As a further speed-up in officer production, the 
pre-OCC requirement for candidates selected from the ranks 
was modified. Qualifications were relaxed to eliminate 
the necessity for NCO rank, and to make eligible men with 
only one year of college, provided they had at least one 
year of overseas service. Enlisted men selected under the 
new qualifications would no longer take the eight week 
pre-OCC course in the Officer Candidates' Battalion at 
Lejeune. They were now to be sent directly to Quantico 
where a newly activated Pre-Officer Candidates' School 
would give them only as much training as necessary to 
absorb the instruction offered in 0CC o By this method, 
experienced NCO's would not be forced to attend classes 
in subjects with which they were already thoroughly 

(29) CMC ltr to CG Lejeune, 15Jul44, 1520-30-120. CMC 
ltr to CG FMF in SBA, 30Aug44, 1520-30-120 MCS. M-5 Op 
Diary, 27Mar44-6May45, HistBr, HOJVIC. 


familiar. Graduates of the V-12 program continued to 

go to Camp Lejeune for training in the Officer Candidates 

Detachment before being assigned to an OCC class. 

Steps were also taken during the summer and fall of 
1944 to improve the quality of instruction at Marine Corps 
Schools. One of these was the establishment of the office 
of Chief Instructor, whose mission was to supervise all 
training and coordinate the efforts of all subordinate 
schools and courses in order to maintain the highest pos- 
sible standard of instruction. Another was the Research 
Section, set up to scrutinize the latest information from 
the battle field so that the latest combat techniques 
could be incorporated into the curriculum. A final step 
was the establishment of the Instructors' Orientation 

Course, used to train instructors newly assigned to Marine 

Corps Schools. 

Platoon Commanders ' Class 

As 1945, the final year of the war, began, the basic 
officer training system at Quant ico underwent a thorough- 
going revision both in doctrine and organization. The 
OCC and ROC were abolished, to be replaced by the Platoon 
Commanders' Class, a single course leading to a second 
lieutenant's commission. The old system had its origins 
in the partial mobilization of the "short -of -war" period 

(30) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 310c t44, 1520-30-120. For 
V-12 see Chap 15 of this History. 

(31) Col James E. Kerr ltr to CMC, 25Jun56, HistBr, HQMC 


when potential officers recruited directly from civilian 
life needed a course of basic military instruction. The 
OCC was organized to fulfill this requirement. The ROC, 
another product of the "short -of -war" period, provided 
the tactical instruction required of an infantry platoon 
leader. The introduction of recruit training for officer 
candidates from civil life, the selection of a consider- 
able number of candidates from the enlisted ranks of the 
Marine Corps, and pre-OCC training for both groups provided 
a thorough ground work in military fundamentals. To offer 
similar training in OCC at Quantico would be a wasteful 
duplication of training which the Marine Corps could ill- 
afford. Combining the two schools would also permit a 
reduction in administrative overhead.' 

Another drawback of the OCC -ROC system was that com- 
missions were granted to individuals before they has com- 
pleted the training necessary to perform the duties of 
Marine officers. Failure to meet the requirements of ROC 
would necessitate revoking the commission. The monthly 
attrition rate, which exceeded five per cent only once 
during 1943 and the first six months of 1944, began to 
rise during the last half of the year. It reached nine 
per cent twice, 16 per cent on one occasion, and never 
fell below five per eent.^ 

(32) Maj D c V McWethy, Jr , "Platoon Commanders' School," 
MC Gazette , June 1945. 

(33) Statistics compiled from monthly rpts of students, 
1520-30 MCS e Figures for 1942 not available. 


Deficiencies in qualities of leadership were the 
most common causes for failure to graduate from ROC. 
In the Eighth ROC, 75 per cent of those who did not 
make the grade were dropped for such reasons as: 

lacks force and leadership; 

devoid of the traits of military personality: 

military bearing is poor; 

has failed to adjust himself to life in the 
military service; 

unsuited for a military career and dislikes 
military life. 

Only 25 per cent were victims of academic failure." 

The urgent need for junior combat leaders was an- 
other reason for establishing the new basic officer 
course. Its title, the Platoon Commanders ' School (PCS), 
was indicative of the character of instruction. Of only 
l6-weeks duration, the school was four weeks shorter 
than the OCC-ROC combination it replaced. The courses 
eliminated or cut down included close order drill, ad- 
ministration, and naval law - all subjects which were 
not considered essential to effective leadership of a 
rifle platoon in combat. ^ 

The PCS was ordered to begin operations as a com- 
ponent of Marine Corps Schools, Quant ico, on 17 January 

(3^) CO ROC Itr to CMCS, 8jun42, 1520-30-120. 

(35) McWethy, Op. Cit. CMC ltr to CMCS, 28Dec44, 
1520-30-120 mcs: 


1945. On that date, the four OCC classes in session 
would be redesignated as the first through the fourth 
PCC classes . The OCC class scheduled to enter on 17 
January would become the fifth PCS, and subsequent 
classes would enter at two-week intervals. The ROC 
class in session would continue under the existing 
schedule, graduating on 9 March . The ROC would then 
be abolished. 

The establishment of PCS led to a change in title 
for the Pre-OCCo Under its new name, the Candidates' 
Refresher Course, it continued to operate as in the 
past. As a preparation for PCS, this course proved 
highly successful. Only nine per cent of those com- 
pleting the first class at the Candidates' Refresher 
School failed to graduate from PCC. By comparison, 13 
per cent of their classmates in PCC who entered directly 
without benefit of Pre -Candidate School Instruction, 
failed to make the grade. ' 

By May 1945, demand for new officers had slackened 
enough to permit a cut-back in the PCC from a five to a 
four-block system, a new class entering every four weeks. 
The new program began on 21 June 1945 and continued in 

(36) CMC ltr to CMCS, 28Dec44, 1520-30-120 MCS. MCS GO 
1-45, 4jan45* 1520-30-50 MCS. 

(37) Ltr of instr 954, l4Feb45, 1520-30-120. Maj E. W. 
Bryan memo to LtCol W K Enright, 3Apr45, 1520-30-45-10 


effect for the remainder of the war. A total of 15 classes, 
numbering 3,300 students, had graduated from the PCC by 
V-J Day. 38 


A total of 16,084 officers completed the basic offi- 
cer training program during the three years and eight 
months between the Pearl Harbor attack and V-J Day. 
Although the need for some sort of officer candidate 
training system had been recognized in the war plans de- 
veloped between the two World Wars, the training program, 
as it actually developed, was a collection of improvi- 
sations, each taken in response to a specific problem. 
During the short-of-war period, the ROC and OCC had been 
organized. They were expanded after Pearl Harbor, and to 
them were added the recruit training requirement and the 
pre-OCC. Thus, the basic officer training program, at 
its most complex, consisted of four separate courses. It 
was not until 19^5 that the replacement of the OCC and 
ROC by the PCS introduced some measure of simplification. 

Complexity in organization, however, did not lead to 
inadequacy in training. The system specialized in pro- 
ducing platoon commanders, and the officers who received 
their commissions at Quantico were well qualified to lead 
infantry platoons in combat. 

(38) Francis, Op. Cit . , 97, 112. 



Genera J 

Of the 5,584 ROC graduates designated for ground dut. 
during the calendar year 1943, 2,478, or 44 per cent were 
ordered directly to formal specialist schools for additional 
training before taking up their duty assignments. A This 
figure, however, represented only a part of the formal 
specialist school training program for officers. Many 
others attended one or more of the approximately 75 courses 
available to them after service in the field. Some of 
these officers returned for advanced instruction in the 
specialties in which they had been serving. Others were 
retrained for new duties after the progress of the war had 
indicated that their old skills were no longer required. 

The table below lists the available courses. 





Air and Surface Craft Recognition 






Administration, Statistical 

5 or 8 


Artillery, AA, Heavy 



(1) Figures compiled from rpts, "Distribution of graduates," 
15th through 40th ROC, 6jan-21Dec43, 1520-30-120. 



Length , 


Artillery, AA, Light 



Artillery, AA, Advanced Gun 



Artillery, AA, Refresher 



Artillery, AA, Stereo Heightfinder 



Artillery, AA, Advanced Searchlight 



Artillery, AA, AutoWpns, Advanced 



Artillery, Field 



Artillery, Field, Special 



Artillery, Field, Btry Officer 



Artillery, Field, Field Officer 



Artillery, Field, Refresher 



Artillery, Field, Advanced 



Artillery Base Defense Weapons 



Artillery Seacoast 



Artillery Coast, Basic 



Artillery Coast, Advanced 



Bomb Disposal 



Chemical Warfare, Unit Gas Officer 



Chemical Warfare, Navy Toxic Gas 



Combat Dog 






Communications Company Officers 








Communications Radio 


Army j 

Communications, Field Wire 



Communications, Long Lines, 
Outside Plant 



Communications, Tank 



Communications, Infantry 



Communications, Field Artillery 



Communications, Fundamentals of 



Communications, Practical, Joint 



Communications, Radio Engineer 



Communications , 



Communications, Pre-Radar 



Communications, Radar 






Engineer, Utilities Refresher 



Engineer, Camouflage 



Infantry, Troop Leader 



Infantry, Refresher 



Intelligence, Combat 



LVT, Platoon Leader 



LVT(A), Gunnery 

• 6 









Military Government 



Military Government 


Mine Warfare 



Motor Transport, Operations and 

4 & 8 





Ordnance, Small Arms 



Ordnance, Ammo Inspectors 



Oriental Languages 


Personnel Administration 



Physical Training 



Quartermaster, Administration 



Quartermaster, Signal Supply 



Quartermaster, Ammo Supply 



Sea Duty 



Special Services 

2, : 


Tank, Platoon Leader 



Tank, Gunnery 



Tank, Maintenance 



Tank, Refresher 



Tank, Company Officer 



Tank Destroyer 



(2) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Cit. 


The officers who went directly from ROC to a special- 
1st school had a narrower list from which to choose. It 
included 10 of the 21 Marine Corps occupational fields. 
The table below lists the specialties and the numbers 
trained in each during calendar 1943. 




Number of 


Amphibian Tractor 


Mar Corps 

Air and Surf act Craft Recognition 



Artillery, Field 



Artillery, Base Defense 



Bomb Disposal 



Chemical Warfare 


Army \ 






MarCorps ( 

Mess Management 



Military Intelligence 









(3) CMCS rpts to CMC, "Distribution of graduates," 15th 
through 40th ROC, 6jan-21Dec43, 1520-30-120. Occupational 
fi-ld designations are taken from U S Marine Corps Manual 
f£s °n j ™l Specialties (Washington: Government Print- 



Number of 


Physical Training 









Sea School 






The principal occupational field not represented 
was infantry. The basic officer training program, the 
OCC-ROC, was in itself a specialized infantry course, and 
its graduates were expected to be capable of performing 
the duties of infantry platoon leaders. As all Marine 
officers, except for the few commissioned in the field 
or recruited directly from civilian life as specialists, 
went through the basic program, those selected for a 
specialty other than infantry received a dual specialist 
training. They became infantrymen first, then they 
learned to be artillerymen, tankers, ordnancemen, com- 
municators, or specialists in some other field. 

As for facilities, the Marine Corps continued to 
use, as it had before Pearl Harbor, Army and Navy 

(4) The others were administrative, motor transport, 
photography, public information, security and guard, 
training aids, and miscellaneous. 


institutions as well as its own schools. For the basic 
specialist training of officers newly graduated from ROC, 
primary reliance was placed on Marine schools. During 
calendar 1943, for instance, 12 of the 17 subjects were 
taught in Marine schools. Numberwise also, the bulk of 
the students, 2,483, were trained in Marine -operated 

The Army and Navy schools were more extensively 
employed for the high-level training given to officers 
who had already served in the field. In field artillery, 
for Instance, the basic course wac condud nine 
Corps Schools, Quantico, while experienced artillery offi- 
cers went to the Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill 
for advanced training. Some of the Navy programs utilized 
the facilities of civilian universities - the radar and 
Oriental language programs, for instance - however, Navy 
administrative organizations existed on these campuses, 
and instructors were usually in uniform. Many of them, 
regular members of the faculty, were given reserve 

In length, the specialist courses available for offi- 
cers covered a wide range. As indicated in the table 
below, the shortest course lasted two weeks, the longest 
three years. The heaviest concentration of courses 

(5) CMCS rpt to CMC, "Distribution of ROC Grads." 
Tuttle and Turner, 0£. Cit. 


timewise was eight weeks, closely followed by the 12 -week 
and four-week periods. 

How long did it take to produce a specialist offi- 
cer during World War II? No complete answer is possible. 
Length of training can be determined in those specialties 
where officers were taken directly from ROC and prepared 
for their specialist duties in formal schools. The table 
below shows how long it took to produce a second lieutenant 
for duty in the most important of these specialist fields. 


Field 7 






Field Artillery 

10 12 



AA Artillery 

10 12 




10 12 




10 12 




10 12 




10 12 




10 12 




10 12 




10 12 



(6) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Clt. Palmer, Wiley and 
Keast, Op. Cit . , 308-319T" ~~~ 

(7) CMCS rpts to CMC "Distribution of Graduates," 15th- 
40th ROC, 6jan-21Dec43, 1520-30-120. 

(8) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Cit . 


Two representative specialist training programs, 
communications and artillery, are detailed in the pages 
to follow. The former, for most of the war, utilized 
Army and Navy schools. The latter was both the oldest 
and largest officer specialist school in the Marine Corps, 
These two programs illustrate the problems encountered by 
the Marine Corps in operating its own school system and? 
in utilizing the schools of the other services. 

Communication Officer Training 

On 7 December 194l, there were no formal communi- 
cation schools for officers in the Marine Corps. Require- 
ments for communication officers were met by the Army and 
Navy opening their schools to a limited number of Marine 
students. By far the greatest number graduated from the 
Communication Officers' Course at Army Signal Corps 
School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. These were the 
officers who later directed communication activities in 
the field. In addition, one or two Marine officers a 
year studied radio engineering at the Naval Post Graduate 
School, Annapolis.^ 

The entry of the United States into the war did not 
bring about any immediate change in the existing policy 
for training communication officers. In a memorandum 
dated 9 December, the Director of the Division of Plans 

(9) See Chap 5 of this History. 


and Policies recommended to the Commandant that "the 
present system of sending off icers. . . to Army, Navy and 
specialist schools should continue...." The existing 
quota of 17 officers for communication training in fiscal 
1942 remained in school, but no addition to the quota was 
sought . 

Under the pressures of wartime mobilization, it was 
soon apparent that training at the existing level number- 
wise was woefully inadequate. In expanding the output of 
communications officers, the Marine Corps continued to 
rely at first upon the other services for training facil- 
ities. The Army and Navy, confronted by expansion problems 
of their own, revamped their communications training pro- 
grams by streamlining courses of instruction and by organ- 
izing additional courses. 

The Army courses, which continued to turn out the 
great majority of Marine communications officers, included 
expanded Signal Corps courses and communication courses 
offered by the combat armss Field Artillery, Infantry, 
Cavalry, Armored Force, and Tank Destroyer. The Signal 
Corps courses, offered at Fort Monmouth, General Electric 
Company, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, covered maintenance and oper- 
ation of field radio equipment, code practice, radio 
procedure, and message center operation. Length of these 
courses was generally nine weeks. ^ The communications 

(10) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10039, 9Dec4l, 1520-10. 

(11) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Cit . 


instruction at the schools of the combat arms was more 
elementary and more specialized. Among the subjects 
taught were code, radio fundamentals and procedures, 
signal communications, message handling, and training 
methods. In each school the instruction was slanted 
towards the particular needs of the combat arm of which 
it was a part, and the Marine Corps utilized this 
specialized approach to fill its own needs for communi- 
cations officers for infantry, artillery, and tank units. 

The training of communications officers for field 
artillery illustrates this practice. Field artillery 
regiments, battalions, and batteries all had extensive 
communications nets, and while it was possible to assign 
communications officers to regiments and battalions, at 
battery level, the reconnaissance officer, an artilleryman, 
had additional duty as communications officer. The only 
communications instruction these officers received was 
in the Artillery Course, Marine Corps Schools. As this 
later proved inadequate for effective service in the field, 
the Marine Corps arranged quotas for about four graduates 
from each class of the Artillery Course in Quantico to 
attend the Communications Course, Army Field Artillery 
School, Fort Sill. However, shortages of communications 
officers in the field prevented the assignment of Fort 
Sill graduates below battalion level. 12 

(12) Dir P&P memo to CMC, Il6l8, 23Jun43, 1520-10-15 . 
AdjGen, USA Itr to CMC, 19Nov43, 1520-10-100. Col F. P, 
Henderson ltr to CMC, 19Jun56, HistBr, HQMC. 


Until nearly the end of the first year of war, the 
training of Marine communications officers was concen- 
trated generally in Army schools. For a service special- 
izing in amphibious operations, a knowledge of naval 
communications was also essential. Accordingly, arrange- 
ments were made in the fall of 1942 for Marine officers 

to attend Navy Communications schools. J 

Advanced communications training was also continued 
during the war. Marine officers continued to attend the 
Navy Post Graduate School to study radio engineering. 
In addition, senior captains and majors with amphibious 
combat experience were sent to the Naval Practical Joint 
Communications Course at Harvard University. This course 
covered visual and sound systems, types of messages, 
reports, publications, correspondence, message handling, 
codes and ciphers, security, radio equipment, plans, 
orders, and organization of amphibious operations. Length 
was 12 weeks. 

Radar, one of the most significant technological 
innovations of World War II, created a training problem 
for the Marine Corps which had not existed before the war. 
Fortunately for the Marine Corps, there was no need to 
organize a radar training program for officers. The Navy 

(13) Tuttle and Turner, Op. Clt . 

(14) Ibid . 


generously offered to include Marines in the courses in 
electronics which it had contracted with civilian colleges 
and universities to provide. This Navy program was set 
up in two stages. The pre-radar stage, 16 weeks long, 
was offered at Bowdoin College, Harvard, and Princeton 
Universities. It covered vacuum tubes, power supplies, 
circuits, test instruments, ultra high frequency, wave 
propagation, antennas, modulation and detection theory, 
receivers, and transmitters. Radar engineering, the 
second phase of the program, was taught at M. I. T. in 
a four and one-half month course covering principles of 
electronics, and operation and maintenance of electronics 
equipment . 

The communications officers in the Marine divisions 
which fought at Guadalcanal, the Central Solomons, 
Bougainville, Camp Gloucester, Tarawa, and the Marshalls 
were products of these Army and Navy schools. In the 
operations of the Central Pacific, their training proved 
seriously inadequate. "The lack of amphibiously trained 
communication officers is so keenly felt in the Central 
Pacific," wrote Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, 
Commanding General of the V Amphibious Corps, "that the 
Navy has been forced to take over some of the functions 
which formerly pertained to Marine Landing Forces." 1 ^ 

(15) Ibid. 

(16) 3d End, CG V Phib Corps, 27Mar44, on CO 25th Mars 
ltr to CMC, 1520-30=60 MCS. 


The difficulty lay, according to General Smith, in 
the fact that there was nc training course in amphibious 
communications. "New communication officers come schooled 
in Army methods which are applicable largely to land 
warfare," he wrote. "They know very little about the Navy 
or amphibious requirements. .. .Some of our new officers are 
Navy trained; however, such training, though extremely 
valuable, does not fit them for amphibious operations.... 
The Marine Corps communication officer must know both 
(Army and Navy systems) in order to coordinate the two. 

In addition to the inadequately trained graduates of 
Army and Navy communications schools, there were a large 
number of former enlisted communicators who had been ap- 
pointed to commissioned rank in the field. "In general, 
these were outstanding individuals who had distinguished 
themselves as wire men, radio operators, or in some similar 
field," commented Colonel Clyde R. Nelson, a veteran 
Marine communications officer. "However, it is a long 
jump from being a good wire sergeant to planning and 

executing the complex communications required in an am- 

phibious operation." 

The Marine Corps Communications Officers School was 

organized on 1 June 19^4 to rectify these conditions. A 

(17) Ibid . 

(18) Col Clyde R. Nelson ltr to CMC, n.d., HistBr, HQMC 


component of Marine Corps Schools, Quant ico, the Communi- 
cations Officers' School offered a course of 20-weeks 
duration to company grade and warrant officers. The 
curriculum, which was specifically tailored to Marine 
Corps needs, emphasized communications in the amphibious 
operation, and, within that sphere, it concentrated on 
the practical aspects of communications at battalion and 
regimental levels. Theory and engineering aspects were 
not stressed in the Communications Officers' School. 
They were taken up in the Navy Post Graduate School 
course in radio engineering. 

The basic tools of the communications officer were 
thoroughly covered. They included international Mor 'se 
code, radiotelegraphy and radiotelephone procedures, 
message center administration, signal supply and mainte- 
nance, and security. These subjects gave the students a 
practical basic knowledge of the equipment, procedures, 
and techniques of Marine field communications. 

Students then took up the application of communi- 
cations equipment, procedures and techniques in Marine 
Corps tactical units. During this phase of their in- 
struction, the students learned the role of communications 
organizations in various tactical situations, with par 
ticular emphasis on such amphibious warfare problems as 
ship-to-shore movement, close air support, naval gunfire 
support, and shore party operations. 

Ibid . 


The school operated on a block system. Originally, 
a new class entered every four weeks, but beginning with 
the sixth class on 16 November 1944, the interval was 

extended to eight . A total of 10 classes graduating 

235 officers was conducted. 

The stepped-up amphibious operations of 1944 and 
1945 brought home to Marine communications officers the 
need for a thorough understanding of the Navy communi- 
cations system . Marine organizations in the field were 
just as dependent on them as any unit of the fleet. As 
the communications problems peculiar to the Navy and the 
procedures employed to overcome them could best be under- 
stood if key Marine communications officers had a chance 
to study them at first hand at the highest level, selected 
field grade officers were given two weeks of training in 
the Navy Department, Washington, D C, prior to their 
departure for overseas assignments. 

The communications training program, which, at the 
beginning of the war, was based entirely on Army and 
Navy schools, illustrated the greatest shortcoming of 
such a system . Lacking ©ontrol of the schools, the 
Marine Corps was unable to fit curricula to its own 

(20) Francis, Op. Cit., 94. CMC ltr to CMCS, 12Apr44, 
1520-30-60 MCS. Turtle and Turner, Op. Cit. CMC ltr to 
CMCS, 31Aug44, 1520-30-120. 

(21) Col Harold B. Meek ltr to CMC, 7Jun56, HistBr, 


peculiar needs. It found itself in the role of the poor 
•elation, requesting favors with hat in hand of its more 
affluent cousins. So serious were the deficiencies that 
the system of dependence on the other services had to be 
largely abandoned in favor of a Marine officers' communi- 
cation school. 


When war broke out, the Base Defense Weapons Class, 
a component of Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, was the 
primary source for Marine artillery officers. Originally 
a composite course in which student officers learned 
field, antiaircraft, and seacoast artillery tactics and 
techniques, it had, under the pressures of the short-of- 
war period, been split into Field Artillery and Base 
Defense Sections (antiaircraft and seacoast artillery). 
This was the beginning of a process of specialization 
which was to characterize the Marine artillery officer 
training program during World War II. 

The secondary source for artillery training was the 

/ Field Artillery School at Fort Sill. It was used 

advanced training, and the officers sent there had 

usually already had some service with Marine artillery 

units. Close liaison was maintained between Fort Sill 

uantico by frequent exchanges of visits. 

Like the basic officer courses, the Base Defense 
-ipons Class was accelerated in response to the pressures 
of wartime mobilization. The first step in acceleration, 


taken on 1 February 1942 with the Third Class, was to 
reduce the course from 12 to ten weeks in length. At 
the end of February, some of the students were ordered 
overseas and the course was further reduced to eight 

weeks. The ten-week schedule was resumed with the next 

class, which convened early in April. 

This reduction in the length of artillery training 
was reluctantly accepted by the staff of the Base Defense 
Weapons Class. Lieutenant Colonel James D. Waller, com- 
manding officer of the Base Defense Weapons School, 

pointed out that the abbreviated schedule had "only one 

advantage, that is, rapid supply... of officers." " 

As a second step in acceleration, the block system 

was introduced, beginning with the Seventh Class. 

This was a two-block system, with a new class entering 
every five weeks. In December, a further acceleration 
was put into effect when the schedule was put on a five- 
block basis o To avoid having 10 classee in session 
simultaneously, new classes alternated between the Field 
and Base Sections. The entire Eleventh Artillery Class 
was assigned to study base defense weapons, while the 

(22) CMC Itr to CMCS, i6jan42, 1520-30-120. MajGen 
H. R. Paige Itr to Col C. W Harrison, Uun56, HistBr, 

(23) Dir BDWC memo to LtCol C. W. LeGette, 13Mar42, 

(24) Base Defense Weapons Class was redesignated the 
Artillery Course on 20Apr42. 


Twelfth Class was exclusively field artillery. This sys- 
tem worked well but was later modified to permit an offi- 

with particular aptitude for a specific type of 
artillery to be held over until a class in his specialty 

During the first year of the war, artillery in- 
struction suffered under many handicaps. The 10-week 
course was admittedly too short for thorough indoctrination, 
a difficulty compounded by the shortage of experienced in- 
structors and the necessity of transferring students to 
Parris Island for firing . 

Steps had been initiated to alleviate the instructor 
shortage as early as February 1942. In anticipation of 
the additional teaching load expected under the block sys- 
tem, the Commandant informed the Commandant of Marine Corps 
Schools that some of the extra instructors would have to 
be selected from recent graduates of the Base Defense 
Weapons School. But as the opportunities for field ma- 
neuver and firing exercises were extremely limited in this 
school s it was decided to send the instructor designees 
for further training in the Battery Officers' Course, Army 
Field Artillery School, Fort Sill. Quotas were accordingly 

) CMC ltr to CMCS, \ 1520-30-120. Dir Arty 
e ltr to CMC, 30Jul42, 1520-30-120. CMCS ltr to CMC, 
24Feb43, 1520-30-120. 

(26) Dir BDV/C memo to LtCol C. W. LeGette, 13Mar42, 
1520-30-120. "Field Artillery Training Battalion" ' 
(unsigned, undated MS, HistBr, HOMC). 

arranged for two officers in each course beginning on 
20 April. 27 

Demand for artillery officers in the FMF was so 
great, however , that none of these officers returned 

from Port Sill to Quantico as planned. It was the 
middle of 1943 before any Port Sill graduates were sent 
to Quantico to instruct , and they were generally artil- 
lery officers from the FMP, sent to Fort Sill for school, 
and thence to Quantico ,^ 

Action was taken during December 1942 and January 
1943 to correct the deficiencies in field training. In 
November the Field Artillery Training Battery was organ- 
ized at Quantico . Equipped with 105mm howitzers and 75- *< 
guns mounted on half-tracks, this battery permitted 
observed firing by student officers to be phased into 
the course on a "study in the classroom then fire in 
field" basis. The acquisition of the 50,000 acre 

Guadalcanal area provided the necessary range area for 


these student firings . 

The Base Defense instruction was similarly improved 
by transferring it to Camp Lejeune. In November 1942 a 

(27) CMC Itrs to CMCS, 25Feb42 and 9Mar42; and CMC Itr 
to CG Repl and Sch Comd, AGF, 9Dec42, all 1520-10-15. 

(28) CMC Itrs to CMCS, 25Feb42 and 9Mar42; and CMC ltr 
to CG Repl and Sch Comd, AGF, 9Dec42, all 1520-10-15. 
MajGen H R. Paige ltr to Col C. W. Harrison, Uun56, 
HistBr, HQMC. 

(29) MajGen H R Paige ltr to Col C. W. Harrison, 
Uun56, HistBr, HQMCo 


class had moved from Quantico to Lejeune for firing. 
Then in January 1943 the Base Defense Section was trans- 
ferred there from Quantico. Redesignated the Officers* 
Base Defense School, it was part of the Base Artillery 
Battalion, which, in turn, was a component of the Training 
Center, Camp Lejeune. The new setup was a great improve- 
ment over the previous one at Quantico because the availa- 
bility of firing areas enabled students to "shoot as the^ 

learned" instead of concentrating all firing at the end 

of the course. 

During this same period, both the Field Artillery 
Course and the Officers • Base Defense Weapons School 
courses were expanded to 12 weeks. This was made possi- 
ble by the increased output resulting from the block 
system. Artillery officer requirements could now be met 
in spite of the longer period of instruction. For the 
Field Artillery Course, the change went into effect on 
11 February 19^3. The Officers » Base- Defense Weapons 
School followed suit on 25 March. 

The additional two weeks were most welcome, for the 
need for additional instruction for artillery officers 
was even more urgent in the winter of 19^3 than it had 

(30) Ibid .; and CMC ltr to CG Lejeune, 22Dec42, 1520-30-120. 

(31) Dir P&P memo to CMC 11197, llDec42,- and CO ArtyBn TC 
Lejeune ltr to CMC, 22Mar43, both 1520-30-120. 


been a year before when the length of instruction had 
been reduced to 10 weeks . Since that time, new weapons 
had been introduced in both the field and base defense 
artillery. In the former, the 105mm howitzer was being 
introduced, and, in the latter, 20mm and 40mm antiair- 
craft guns had been added to the already diverse list of 
weapons employed in Marine defense battalions. An ad- 
ditional problem for base defense students arose from the 
employment of base defense artillery in support of ground 
troops, a development which had not been anticipated when 
these Marine units were first committed to action in the 
South Pacific. To meet this new requirement, additional 

instruction in forward observer methods of fire control 

had to be given. 

Students attending the Officers ' Base Defense School 
spent a busy 12 weeks. Into the 564 scheduled hours of 
instruction were crowded an orientation course in artil- 
lery mathematics and base line surveying, a course in 
seacoast artillery, and another in antiaircraft artillery. 
Included in the seacoast course were computation of firing 
data, position finding, materiel, spotting and adjustment 
of fire, and firing tactics of 155mm guns and their as- 
sociated range finding equipment. The antiaircraft course 
covered similar material pertaining to 90mm, 40mm, and 
20mm guns. Graduates were competent to serve as range 

(32) Ibid. 


or battery officers in seacoast, heavy antiaircraft, or 

light antiaircraft batteries. -'-' 

In the latter part of November 19^3, a further ex- 
pansion in artillery training was made when the Commandant 
directed the Commandant of Marine Corps Schools to organ- 
ize an Artillery Observers 6 Course . From each class 
graduating from the Artillery Course, six officers were 
to be selected for training as aerial observers. Their 
instruction was to include tactical instruction in aerial 
artillery spotting and technical instruction in photography, 

The beginning of 19^4 saw another round in the trend 
towards specialization of artillery officers. The Director 
of the Officers' Base Defense School, writing to the 
Commandant, stressed the Inadequacy of the existing 
curriculum. He pointed out that the "present course was 
designed as an expedient to meet the requirements of an 
expanded program of organization during which time the 
partially-trained officers graduated from the Officers' 
Base Defense School were to be assigned to new units, 
thereby continuing their education under the guidance of 

♦ experienced officers during that period of organi- 

Lon." This is no longer true, he continued. "Many of 

the recent graduates have reported to units and have been 

(33) CO ArtyBn TC Lejeune ltr to CMC, 24Sep43, 1520-30. 
(3*0 CMC ltr to CMCS, 10Nov43, 1520-30-120. 



assigned duties and responsibilities of a battery officer 
and have found themselves in combat almost immediately. "^ 

Further to complicate the artillery training problem 
was the employment of 155mm guns as field artillery. 
Originally designated for a coast defense role, these 
weapons had been employed very successfully in the Pacific 
war theaters in ground support missions. Field and coast 
artillery techniques differed, however, particularly with 
regard to fire control. The successful execution of the 
dual role for 155mm batteries required officers to be 
trained in both field and coast artillery methods. 

The solution of these problems called for a reorgan- 
ization of the artillery training program. In the time 
available under the existing schedule, not even an ade- 
quate coverage of the antiaircraft and coast defense 
artillery functions of defense battalions could be given. 
To attempt any field artillery instruction, in addition, 
was out of the question. Accordingly, a special 155mm 
gun course was organized. Of 16 weeks duration, it was 
divided between the Field Artillery Course at Quantico 
and the Officers' Base Defense School at Camp Lejeune. 

During the first eight weeks, students would con- 
centrate on field arti! at n uantico. Their course 

(35) Dir Officers* Base Defense Sch ltr to CMC, 24jan44, 


would include artillery mathematics, field artillery 
surveying, preparation of firing data, maps and aerial 
photographs, field artillery tactics and techniques, 
field artillery communications, operation of a fire 
direction center, and field artillery firing. Firing 
was done with 75mm or 105mm batteries, but the methods 
for adjusting and conducting fire were the same for these 
weapons as for the larger pieces. 

The final eight weeks were spent at Camp Lejeune 
in the study of seacoast artillery. Seacoast artillery 
surveying, fire control and position finding, radar, 
communications, 155mm materiel and ammunition, Kelly 
mounts, antiaircraft machine guns, aircraft recognition 
and seacoast tactics were among the subjects covered. 
At the end of the course, there was a one week field 
maneuver in which a 155mm battery was emplaced in a 
seacoast position and fired, then displaced and a field 
artillery problem fired. 

The antiaircraft instruction in the Officers' Base 
Defense School was also reorganized. Two separate courses 
were set up, one designated the Antiaircraft Course to 
teach 90mm guns, and the other named the Special Weapons 

( ) Senior Instructor, Seacoast Section, Officers' 
Base Defense Sch ltr to CMC, 28jan44; and Dir P&P memo 
to CMC 12083, llFeb44, both 1520-30-12. 


Course to teach 20mm and 40mm guns and .50 caliber 

machine guns. Starting dates for these courses were 

27 March and 8 May 1944 respectively. 

The completion of the 1944 reforms created a much- 
expanded artillery officer training program. Previously, 
there had been two courses, one in field artillery, and 
the other in base defense artillery. Now there were 
four courses. Henceforth, an officer selected for train- 
ing in artillery would be assigned to one of these courses, 
His knowledge of that particular type of artillery would 
be greater ^han under the old system, but it would be 
definitely limited to that subject. In the field, this 
had serious drawbacks as it prevented flexibility in 
assignment of personnel. 

The school organization resulting from these reforms 
undertaken in the early part of 1944 represented the high 
water mark for base defense artillery training. Beginning 
in June, the emphasis began to shift towards field 
artillery. This change reflected the progress of the 
Pacific War and the decline of the Japanese naval and 
air threat. According to the original concept, the mis- 
sion of the Defense Battalion was to defend an advance 
fleet base from attacks by sea or air. During the cam- 
paigns on Guadalcanal and the other Solomons the defense 
of an island was of vital concern. As the offensives in 

(37) Div P&P memo for the Director, 22Feb44, 1520-30-12 


the South and Central Pacific went into high gear late 
in 1943, with the resulting heavy blows to Japanese sea 
and air power, the need for base defense artillery began 
to decline, while the strongly fortified Japanese-held 
islands in the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, and Palaus 
demanded more and heavier field artillery. 

The first indication of this shift in emphasis came 
in June 1944 with a reorganization of 155mm gun training. 
"The graduates of this course will no doubt serve in the 
155mm gun battalions of Corps Artillery," wrote lieutenant 
Colonel Robert B. Luckey, Director of the Field Artillery 
School, to the Commandant, "and while it is realized that 
these units have a dual mission, it is also believed that 
their primary employment will be as field artillery. In 
view of this, it is felt that the eight weeks devoted to 
j artillery instruction are insuff icient. . . .It is... 
recommended that two weeks be cut from the course at New 
River, and. . .allotted to the field artillery instruction 
given at this School."-^" 

Lieutenant Colonel Luckey' s proposal met with favor 
at Headquarters Marine Corps. The 155mm gun instruction 
was accordingly reorganized to provide 10 weeks in field 
artillery technique at Quantico and six weeks in seacoast 
3 at Camp Lejeunn. The new schedule, approved on 

( , ) Dir PA Sch Itr to CMC, 8Jun44, 1520-30-5. 

15 June, was put into effect for the current class, which 

had been in session at Quantico since 25 May. 

The joint Quantico i on the 155mm gun 

was a short-lived one. It was abolished on 5 October 1944 

on the ground that better training in the field artillery 

aspects of this weapon could be given by adding appropriate 

instruction to the regular field artillery course. Seacoast 

artillery officers were obtained after 5 October by se; 

ing artillery school graduates through the six-week sea- 

coast course at Camp Lejeune. 

The final blow to seacoast artiller\ or 

officers fell on 13 December 1944. The change in mission 

of 155mm gun battalions from seacoast to field artillery 

eliminated the need for training officers in the former 

capacity. The seacoast course in the Officers' Base 

Defense School was accordingly discontinued. 

The increased demand for field artillery office 

also had its effects on the antiaircraft specialty. On 

16 November 1944 a special course convened in the Field 
Artillery School at Quantico to retrain 20 antiaircraft 
officers for field artillery. The successful completion 
of this class on 29 December led to the continuation of 

(39) CMC ltr to CMCS, 15Jun44, 1520-30-5- 

(40) Dir PA Sen ltr to CMC, 25Aug44. CMC ltr to Dir 
FA Sch, 5Sep44, both 1520-30-12. 

(41) CMC ltr to CG TC Lejeune, 13Dec44, 1520-30-12. 


o retrain an additional 150 antiaircraft 
leers, three special eight-week courses of 50 students 
h were organized. The first class began on 17 January 

1945. On 1 July the third class had graduated, and the 

program was completed. 

Upon completion of this retraining job, the Special 
tillery Class was not disbanded. It was redesignated 
the Advanced Artillery Course with the mission of preparing 
officers for the performance of staff and command duties 
• field artillery battalion. Students were accordingly 
oted from among officers with previous field artillery 
■oience. Originally scheduled as an eight-week course, 
Advanced Artillery Course was extended by one week to 
permit an adequate coverage of field artillery intelligence 
before the first class convened on 12 July 1945. 

The artillery training program of officers was solidly 
on Marine Corps schools from the outset. Although 
changing conditions dictated modifications in the training 
is the war progressed, the Marine Corps, because it 
on trolled the schools, possessed the capability of adapt- 
ing them to meet changing requirements. Schools of the Army 

sed successfully to supplement Marine schools, providing 
advanced types of training to a limited number 

•- 12, 

) CMC Itr to CM( Jun45, 1520-30-12. CMC ltr 
KFPac, 12Ji n , >-i2. 

re it was no Lbl \ .' >r the Marine Corps to pr 
the facilities for itself. The Army schools were strictly 
supplementary, however. The Marine Artillery School and 
Officers' Base Defense School were the primary sources 
of Marine artillery officers during World War II. 




n sarly casualty of the World War II mobilization 

n the Junior and Senior courses at Marine Corps 
Is, Quantico. These courser:;, organized to teach 
land and staff functions with emphasis on amphibious 
operations, had been dropped before Pearl Harbor because 
of a serious shortage of field grade officers for the ex- 
panding PMP. The closing down of these courses was in 
keeping with Marine Corps tradition. During the Spanish- . 
American War, the School of Application, the officer 

of those days, closed for the duration. The Marin:: 
Officers 1 School of two decades later suffered a similar 
: te during World War I. Although it was not officially 
closed, its activities were cut to the bone. In both 
these wars, advanced training in command and staff duties 
considered an expendable luxury. All hands closed up 
:hop and went off to war. Hostilities concluded, they 
•eturned and devoted the peacetime years to leisurely 
study of the advanced principles and practices of the 
ry art. 
Within seven months of the American entry into World 
War II, officers on the staff of Marine Corps Schools 
began to have misgivings about the lack of command and 
staff training. Writing to the Commandant on 9 June 1942, 
pal Harrington "recommended that a Command and Staff 


! ch .."■.. . . ' .■ ■ . : 

Quantico, t command and staff 

At Header,. ine Corps, the Commandant and 
his staff looked with favor on the idea of a Command and 
Staff School. But the shortage of officers prevented an 
early implementation of General Harrington's proposal. 

The demand for officers to staff the Third Division 

delayed any action until early 19 ! B." 

In the interim, evidence began to filter back from 
the Pacific theater of a shortage of qualified staff 
officers. "Among the difficulties progressively develop- 
ing as a result of the rapid expansion of the Marine 
Corps," wrote Major General Charles P. Price, Commanding 
General, Defense Force Samoan Area, "perhaps the most 
perplexing to senior commanders in the field is the grow- 
ing shortage of officers with experience. . .to perform 

efficiently the duties of the four principal staff func- 

tions for Brigades or higher units." 

General Price proposed the immediate organization of 

a school in the United States to teach staff functions. 

Such a course should include an intensive study of basic 

(1) CMCS ltr to CMC, 9Jun42, 1520-30-120. 

(2) CMC ltr to CG TC MB Quantico, 9Sep42, 1520-30-120. 

(3) CG HG Def For Samoan Area ltr to CMC, l40ct42, 


theory, followed by n problem type 

and practice in the preparation of estimates of the situ- 
ation and orders. Upon completion of the course, graduates 
Id be sent to the field as assistant staff officers 

to understudy for at least three months the officers per- 

forming staff duties. 

General Holcomb replied that he appreciated "the 

urgent necessity for training staff officers Plans 

have been ready for several months for the establishment 
of a Staff School at Quant ico," he continued, "(but) great 
difficulty has been experienced in securing any suitable 
officers. . .because of the immediate demands for qualified 
officers for active units." He hoped that "sufficient 
surplus officers of appropriate grade will be made avail- 
able... early in 194-3 b y transfers from field units to the 
United States." The success of such a program would 
depend upon "the cooperation of field commanders. . .in 
releasing suitable officers. ! ' 

True to his word, General Holcomb issued the order 
for the organization of the Command and Staff School on 
15 February 19^3. A component of Marine Corps Schools, 
Quantico, the new course was to "equip officers to perform 
efficiently the duties of the four executive staff sections 

(4) Ibid. 

(5) CMC ltr to CG Def For Samoan Area, 26Dec42, 


in the Marine battalions, regiments, and ."'■■■' ' ns." 
The first class convened en 24 March 1943- The 12-w 
course, which was an abbreviated version of the i 
Senior Cours , mploy€ or the instructional ma- 
terial prepared in Marine Corps Schools before the War. 
The Attack on Guam (1938) was used in the first class, 
and the Attack on Saipan (1939) in the second. A great 
deal of attention was devoted to the "problem of decision" 
as well as to practical exercises in the conduct of am- 
phJ operations. Tactical problems were made as 
comprehensive as possible. The; included not only basic 
tactical principles but also air support, logj tic: . 
communications, navel . ifire >port, artillery, terr; 
appreciation, and simi i , ; cts. Much mor tim 
devoted te offensive than to defensive operations. 

Conferences and classroom exercises were the *inci- 
pal means of instruction. There were a few field exercises 
in terrain appreciation, and there was a CP near the 
of the coarse. By order f Colonel Merrill E. T ' ': . 
the executive offic sr f larine Corps Schools, all con- 

: j bo 1 1 I i ' : ' 3las 

a requirement which led to much burning of th riidnight 
oil by the instructors. The purpose of this constant 

(6) CMC ltr to CMCS, 15Feb43, 1520-30-120-17. 

(7) Asst CMCS ltr to BriGen K. E. Hockey, 1! 
1520-30-120-15. BriGen W. P. Coleman ltr to CMC 
HistBr, HOMC. MajGen W. A. Worton ltr to CMC, 1< 
RistBr, HQMC. 

revision was to keep instruction up to by incorpo- 
rating the latest ideas. After an instructor had com- 
pleted a new problem, the Director of the Command and 
Staff School and the other instructors sat as a murder 
to go over it point by point. In this manner, 


,.. points were eliminated. 

A few Army and Navy officers were admitted to the 
course, an action taken initially because of a shortage 
of Marine students. "It appeared almost up to the date 
of starting the course," remarked Major General William 

. Norton, recalling his experiences as Assistant 
Commandant, Marino Corps Schools, "/that?" sufficient 
Marine Corps students would not be available and the 
opening would have to be delayed; telephone calls to 
friends in other services indicated a desire on the part 
of many Army and Navy officers to attend a Marine course 
designed to teach amphibious warfare command and staff 
doctrine. ..." 

- students encountered some academic difficulty. 
Assigned to the Command and Staff School were medical and 
dental officers, civil engineers serving with construction 
battalions, and reserve line officers, all with extremely 
limited military backgrounds. They were particularly un- 
trained in map and aerial photograph reading and terrain 

(8) BriGen W. P. Coleman ltr to CMC, 5Jun56, HistBr, HQMC, 

(9) MajGen W. A. Worton ltr to CMC, l4jun56, HistBr, HQMC, 


appreciation. The medical officers, in addition, were 
often not familiar with the basic principles of military 
organization. A preliminary course for line officers 
was organized at the Naval War College to overcome these 
deficiencies, but medical and dental officers were left 
to their own devices. No special preliminary instruction 
was provided for them. They were furnished copies of the 
Marine Corps Schools 1 pamphlets, "Map and Aerial Photo- 
graph Reading" and "Terrain Appreciation" to study before 
reporting to Quant ico. 

Officers of Allied forces were invited to attend the 
Command and Staff School beginning with the second class. 
Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the 
Netherlands, and France accepted the invitation. "The 
opportunity afforded to cur two attached officers to 

study Marine Corps Staff methods. . .has proved so valuable 

„] 3 
that we are most anxious... to continue the arrangement, ~" 

wrote Commodore H. W. U. McCall of the British Admiralty 

delegation in Washington, to the Commandant. Lieutenant 

General V. A. H. Sturdee of the Australian Military 

Mission was equally enthusiastic. He wrote to General 

Rockey: "The attendance of an Australian officer at the 

school will be of the greatest value to us, especially 

(10) Chief Naval Section C&S Sch ltr to Chief, Naval 
Personnel, lPeb44, 1520-30-60. 

(11) Como H. W. U. McCall ltr to CMC, 21Jul43, 


if Marine and Australian units are engaged in the same 

area in offensive operations against Japan...."' 

At the end of the first year of operations, staff 
officers at Headquarters Marine Corps and Marine Corps 
Schools were able to appraise the performance of the 
Command and Staff School. The curriculum measured up 
very well. Only one criticism was made, and it concerned 
a deficiency in a subject not the responsibility of the 
Command and Staff School. In an effort to overcome the 
deficiency in communications training, Brigadier General 
Clifton B. Cates, who had succeeded General Harrington as 
Commandant of Marine Corps Schools on 1 April 19^3 » was 
directed to add enough instruction on amphibious communi- 
cations "to insure that graduates of the course can intel- 
ligently utilize available signal communications during 
such operations." For the class in session, the hours 
devoted to communications were increased from 13 to 17 
hours, and subsequent classes received 26 hours of 
instruction. ^ 

The provisions for staffing the Command and Staff 
School, however, did not fare so well. For the first 

(12) LtGen V. A. H. Sturdee Itr to BriGen K. E. Rockey, 
10Aug43, 1520-30-120-15. 

(13) See Chap 5 of this History. 

(14) CMC ltr to CMCS, 12Apr44, 1520-30-60 MCS. 

(15) CMCS ltr to CMC, 4May44, 1520-30-120 MCS. 


four classes the no regularly established frr ' 
Officers assigned to the executive staff sections of Marine 
Corps School , and to the staffs of the Correspondence 
Course, the ROC, the Artillery School, the Ordnance School, 

and the Reproduction Office handled all instruction in 

addition to their other duties. 

With the start of the fifth class in June 1944, the 

Command and Staff School was established under its own 

director, and all instructors v;ho could be spared from 

other courses, a total of 19, were assigned to it. In 

the view of General Cates, thia wa Lnadequate faculty 

to ,: maintain the high caliber of instruction that should 


character!; lior school of bl oine Corps." 

Instructors had to teach both general hibious 
subjects, and present both attack and defense problems. 
In addition, they had to prepare some new problems for 
each class. Alth ;h 11 these tasks :;ere being carried 
out, a great improvement in teaching would result by 
permitting instructors t< specialize in particular sub- 
jects. In response to General Cates 1 request, five offi- 
c jrs wer aff . 

A reappraisal of the Command and Staff School to 
place during September 1944. Three changes were proposed 

(16) MajGon W. A. Norton ltr to CMC, l4jun- : . HistBr, HQMC 

(17) CMOS ltr to CMC, 3Jun44, 1520-30-60 MCS. 

(18) Ibid . 


by Headquarters Marine Corps. They were that the course 
continue at 12 weeks in length; that the student body be 
reduced from 110 to 55; and that there be a two week 
interval between classes. Asked for comment, Colonel 
H. E. Rosecrans, Director, Command and Staff School, made 
the following suggestions. He concurred in the reduction 
of the class to 55 students. He agreed that the school 
could be operated with only two weeks between classes, 
but he recommended at least four weeks, so that faculty 
members could visit Army and Navy schools in search of 
the latest teaching methods. Army, Navy, and foreign 
officers should be limited to 10 in each class, and they 
should report at least three days early for indoctri- 
nation in weapons and Marine Corps T/0«s. In addition, 
he recommended that the class be limited to field offi- 
cers and that they be more carefully selected. Finally, 
he urged that the faculty be increased by three instructors. 19 

Major General William C. Cloment, since 21 June 1944 
the Commandant of Marine Corps Schools, forwarded only two 
of Colonel Rosecrans' recommendations to Washington. 
These were to limit the class to 55 students and to have 
Army, Navy, and foreign students to report early. No 
mention was made of the recommendations concerning 

(19) Col H. E. Rosecrans memo to CMCS, QSep44, 1520-30- 
60 MCS. 

additional faculty or better student selection. Both of 
General Clement's roc ommendat ions were approved and were 

incorporated, along with the original proposals of Head- 


quarters Marine Corps, for the seventh class. 

With these minor changes the Command and Staff 
School continued to operate until the closing months of 
the war. Then on 20 June 1945, with the opening of the 
ninth class, the schedule was lengthened to 13 weeks. 
This was the first and last change in course length made 
during World War II. 

The ninth class, which graduated on 19 September 194-5, 
was the last one conducted at the Command and Staff School. 
During its 30 month life, the school graduated a total of 
523 officers. Of these, 417 were Marines, 44 were Navy, 
25 were Arc?/, and 37 represented the armed forces of 

Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Franc, and the 

Netherlands . 

(20) CMCS Itr to C1K . : !Sep44, and CMC ltr to CMCS, 
l8Sep44, both 1520-30-60 MCS. 

(21) Francis, Op. Cit. . " '■ . 




The Marine Corps has traditionally drawn the largest 
proportion of its officers from among college educated 
men. Possessing no military academy distinctly its own, 
it has relied generally en civilian colleges and universi- 
ties to provide the formal academic education for its 
officers' corps, except for the limited number commissioned 
from the Naval Academy or selected from the ranks. Off ic?^ 
training in the Marine Corps has concentrated upon mili- 
tary instruction. 

To assure a supply of officer candidates, the Corps 
had established in 1940 the Class III (d) reserve program 
under which college and high school students were enlisted 
in the Marine Corps Reserve for eventual assignment to 
officer training at Quantico. 

In late 1942, the lowering of the draft age to 18 
threatened not only the continuance of the Class III (d) 
program but also the very existence of many colleges, 
specially the smaller ones. 

The Navy V-12 program became then the answer to this 
double-barreled problem. It enabled Marine III (d) re- 
s srvists still to enter or to continue in colleges which 
were themselves aided by the program. 

President Roosevelt looked upon the V-12 as partly 
"a grand chance to save some little colleges." Yet to 
the colleges it came to mean much more: a way to serve, 


as well aa to be . They lent th:.': 1 facilitj 
besides their young men, to the service of the nation. 
The interest of the higher schools, as the program took 
shape, was indicated by a flood of 1,.600 applications. 
But only 131 contracts could be awarded. 

Selecting t he Trainees 

In setting up the V-12, the Navy provided spaces for 
11,500 Marines. It was soon discovered, however, when 
the task of filling this quota was undertaken in May 19^3, 
that the number of billets was inadequate for the;. Marine- 
college training program already in existence. There 
were at that time 11,516 college and hi?:h school students 
in Class III (d) who were definitely eligible. kn ad- 
ditional 300 were still being processed by the Division 
of Reserve. And 333 enlisted men, the first of a 1,000 
who were to be given an opportunity for college education, 
were also being selected. 

The total of these three groups was 12,149. Assuming 
a two per cent attrition in the period b fore college 
classes started, there ?;ould still be an excess of 
over the quota allotted by the Navy. 

(l) BuPers, "The College Training Program" (Part IV of 
"U. S. Naval Administration in World War II, unpublished 
MS in 3uPers Library, Washington, 194b, 28, 46, herein- 
after cited as BuPers, College Training. 


Plan, For making thi n iry cuts were aimed en- 
tirely at the Class III (d) contingent. The first proposal 
for effecting this reduction was to drop those men who had 
Bcored lowest in the screening test conducted on 20 April. 
This test, suggested by the Navy Advisory Educational 
Council, had been given to college freshmen and sophomores 
and to graduating high school seniors. It was not adminis- 
tered to applicants from the ranks. In those oases, a 
recommendation by the CO was considered sufficient, pro- 
vided the man was a high school graduate, was between 
the ages of 17 and 23, and had a GCT score of not less 
than 110. 2 

As results of the screening test were analyzed there 
was found to be surprisingly little correlation between 
them and the actual school records of the applicants. 
The idea of merely dropping the lower 10 per cent had to 
be abandoned in favor of a more logical plan:^ 

Group I - .Applicants with scores* under 10 

(1) Applicants whose transcripts were 
available. These individuals were 
screened out unless their scholastic 
records and the recommendations of 
the college authorities warranted 
keeping them. 

(2) Col Robert C. Kilmartin, Jr., memo to Dir P&P, 
10May43. 1520-30-60. BuPers, College Training. 24. 
CMC Itr to all CO's, 24MarTJ7 EncIosure""(A)*: — Plan for 
Operation of the Navy College Training Program as 
pertains to U. S. Marine Corps, 1520-30-60^. Hereinafter 
cited as Plan for MC in CTP . 

(3) USMC College Training Program Screening Committee 
ltr to CMC,12May43, 1 520-30 -60. 


(2) Applicants whose transcripts were 
not available. Freshmen with 
scores under 05 were screened out. 
Sophomores with scores under 07 
were screened out. In Group I 
approximately 40 per cent of the 
total were screened out. 

Group II - Applicants with scores over 10 

(1) These applicants were considered 
eligible for the College Training 
Program unless they had both bad 
scholastic records and unfavorable 
recommendations from their college 

(2) Included in Group II were also a 
few individuals who for one reason 
or another were no longer in college. 
These, by their own act, were no 
longer elibible for the College 
Training Program. 

* Scores were based on maximum of 100. 

Those Class III (d) applicants who were screened 
out were transferred to Class III (c) where they could, 
if they preferred, request discharge. Such transfer was 
in accordance with the usual Division of Reserve policy 
whenever a student fell below the Class III (d) scho- 
lastic standards. 

By July 1943, when the first term of the V-12 program 
commenced, Marine undergraduate enrollment stood at 11,460, 
Approximately 800 colleges and 300 secondary schools were 
represented. A student was normally retained at the same 
institution he had been attending, if it was participating 
in the V-12 program. Otherwise, he was transferred to a 
comparable school. 


If a reservist could fulfill all requirement,:: for 
graduation by 15 September 1943 he would be allowed, 
subject to needs of the service, to remain on inactive 
status in the college he had been attending. But all 
who could not graduate by that date were called to 
active duty on 1 July 1943 and assigned to a V-12 unit, 
provided they were so qualified. Those reservists who 
were graduated from college before 1 July were called 
to active duty in their present rank, Private First 
Class, assigned to recruit training, and then to Officer 
Candidates' School, Quantico. 

Administ ration 

A reservist entering the V-12 was appointed a Private 

in the Marine Corps and assigned to the Marine Detachment 


on his campus. These Marine Detachments operated as 

independent organizations within the Naval Unit. Medical 
service was provided by the Navy. Likewise, the Navy 
took care of the over-all housing and messing arrange- 
ments as part of the Navy's contract with the institution. 
Marine NCO's handled indoctrination, drill, physical train- 
ing, and general administration for the Marine trainees. 

(4) In regard to e nlisted personnel selected for college 
training, the Marihe~Corps followed the Navy policy of re- 
duction in rank. Candidates were placed on the same foot- 
ing as the other Marine trainees on the campus: viz, they 
were reduced to the rank of Private upon reporting at the 

(5) Col Robert C. Kilmartin, Jr., memo to Dir P&P, 10May43, 
1520-30-60. BuPers, College Training, Appendix D. Joel D. 
Thacker, "Administrative History of the Marine Corps/' 
28jan48 (MS, KistBr, HQMC). Capt John V. A. Fine, USMCR, 

The College Training Program," MC Gazette, Sept 1943, 
27-29. LtCol John R. Moe, Officer Procurement Div, H r MC, 
Itr to Mr. A. N. Jorgensen, President, University of 
Connecticut, 27May43, 1520-30-60. Plan for MC in CTP. 
Dir P&P memo to CMC, 22May44, 1520-l0~~o*0T *~ 


Included In Marine Corps' preparations for putting 
this program into effect had been the Job of training 
suitable supervisory and administrative personnel. It 
had been expected at Headquarters that Marine detachments 
would be stationed at no fewer that 33 colleges (the 
eventual number was 40) - a plan which would require 
about 40 officers and 210 enlisted men for administrative 
and training purposes. On 9 March 19^3, the Director of 
the Division of Plans and Policies recommended to the 
CMC that a course of approximately two weeks, starting 
around 22 May, be conducted at Quant ico to indoctrinate 
this personnel. It was recommended that the officers 
chosen have a college background and preferably be 
graduates. The plan was approved. 

The fact that many of the officers assigned to this 
duty were seasoned combat officers, 'invalided' home, 
proved a source of inspiration in the program. They 

quickly won the respect and confidence of the trainees - 

and of the college officials, as well. 

Through August and September 19^3 the Marine Corps 
joined with the Navy in offering an Orientation Course 
for College Administrators, which was given partly at 
Columbia University and partly at "uantico. The infor- 
mative phase scheduled by the Marine Corps at "uantico 

(6) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 9Mar43, 1520-30-60. See end of 
chapter for list of colleges having Marine Detachments. 

(7) BriGen Robert C. Kilmartin, Jr., Itr to CMC, l' : Uul56, 
KistBr, HQ^C. 



I L.v>i] lan sducatbrs as ... plahn sd , 
expertly organised, and superbly presented," providing, 
as en. . administrator expressed it, "a new per- 
spective of the mission, aims, and objectives of the 
Marine Corps." 

Study Sc hedul es 

The academic year for V-12 was divided into three 
semesters, each of 16 weeks' length. Starting dates would 
be 1 July, 1 November, and 1 March. 

A four semester schedule was designated for applicant 
due to become line officers. Students who were prospectiv 
engineering, ordnance, or communication officers would 
receive further academic training. 

Tentative assignment of students to courses was made 
through the screening process. An applicant considered 
qualified for special training v;as scheduled for eight 
semesters, or as many as were n^edec 1 to complete four 
years of college. However, any other student who showed 
sufficient aptitude during the first two semesters could 
be assigned, to additional technical training. 

The needs of the Corps indicated that an approximate 
one-fifth of all selected students should be channeled 
into this extended training. However, because of the 
lack of sufficient applicants in the technical field, it 

(8) RAdm L. E. Denfeld, Assistant Chief, Bureau of Naval 
Personnel Itr to MajGen Keller E. Hockey, USMC, 4Nov43, 
1520-30-60. Admiral Denfeld quoted, a number of unso- 
licited comments received from educators, expressing 
praise of Marine training at Quantico. 


was decided to consider for such studies any student 

whose record suggested aptitude for mathematics or 


The first year program was patterned and shared 
alike by the Marine Corps and the Navy. It consisted 
of the following subjects: 

English I, II 

Historic Backgrounds of World War II - I and II 

Naval Organization I, II 10 

Mathematics, I, II or III, IV 

Physics I, II 

Engineering Drawing and Descriptive Geometry 

Physical Training and Hygiene 

Schedules for the second year were arranged through 
couseling and leaned heavily on the advice of the indi- 
vidual college. HQMC prepared a list of suggested 
subjects which included English and public speaking, 
foreign languages, history and geography (especially of 
the current or potential war areas), political science, 
psychology, parasitology, sanitation (especially ele- 
mentary tropical sanitation), chemistry (especially 
chemical warfare), pre -engineering (all types), mapping 

(9) Plan for MC in CTP. Pine, Op. Cit . , 28. 

(10) Starting 1 July 19^5* upon recommendation by the 
Commandant, Marine Corps Organization, I and II, was 
substituted for Naval Organization, I and II. The new 
course was to be taught by the OIC of the Marine 
Detachment. Dir of Personnel memo to CMC, loMay45, 


and map reading, surveying, mathematics, sociology, 
forestry, biology, botany, physics, statistics, radio, 
photography and photogrammetr;/, economics, etc. 

Students earmarked to be specialist officers 
(ordnance, communications, and engineering) received 
training leading toward degrees in the following fields: 

Ordnance Electrical Engineering 

Communications Electrical Engineering 

and Electronics 

Engineering Civil Engineering 

Electrical Engineering 
Mechanical Engineering 
Mining Engineering. 
The best t?raditions of a liberal education - to find 
and encourage leadership - coincided with established 
ideals of Marine training. To make certain now that the 
concentrated courses would not neglect leadership develop- 
ment, especially for the prospective platoon leader, pro- 
fessional Marine officers drew upon the advice of Reserve 
officers experienced in the educational field. Tno result- 
ing programs of study were uniquely designed to meet 

practical objectives. College officials praised the cur- 

ricula and undertook the challenge of carrying them out. 

The contracts made by the Navy imposed upon the 

college a certain obligation to accept all the men who 

were allocated to it (a definite minimum number was 

(11) BriGen Robert C. Kilmartin, Jr., Itr to CMC, l4jul5* 
HistBr, HQMC. 


promised). However, the collego was > entitled to recor 
mend transfer to other duty of any student who failed 

to meet the standards of the school 


It had been estimated at Headquarters Marine Corps 
that academic attrition of V-12 trainees would climb to 
10 per cent "or higher" during the first term. This 
estimate */as borne out by the actual attrition of at 
least one Marine Detachment. At Oberlin College aca- 
demic failures rose to "only ten per cent" in the first 



After the fir: t term, attrition throi ;hout the pro- 
gram leveled off to an over-all eight i er cent for both 
Marine and Navy trainees. This figure, said the Navy, 
approximated the "normal rate" in American schools of 
higher learning. 

(12) Plan for MC in CTP. 

(13) No percentages of academic attrition are available 
for other Marine Detachments. 

(14) Div P&P memo to CMC, 28Sep43, 1520-30-60. CMC 
ltr to Senator Homer Ferguson (no date on carbon copy 
but was reply to ltr dtd 290ct43), 1520-30-60. BuPers , 
College Training, 121. 


The Navy cited the following factors as contributing 
to academic attrition in the total V-12 program between 
1 July 1943 and 1 November 1943 : 15 

Inadequate preparation 13.82$ 

Low mentality 42.40$ 

Lack of application 32.72$ 

Lack of Officer-like qualifications .... 9.78$ 

Emotional instability .... 0.66$ 

Physical illness 1.52$ 

Subjects which caused the highest attrition were: 

Mathematics 28.57$ 

Physics 24.89$ 

Causes of the high academic attrition during the 
first term were thus many and varied - and some of them 
could doubtless not be broadly classified. A distaste 
for college life or a restlessness to get into action 
may have produced a certain "lack of application." And 
certainly, for all concerned, both the trainees and the 
colleges, the first term of the V-12 program was a period 
of adjustment, which was not always successfully bridged, 
although the colleges were generally credited as being 
"willing to make all reasonable and necessary adjustments. 

(15) BuPers, College Training , 122. 

(16) Ibid ., 76-77. 


One cause of academic deficj *ncy • * nd th rem - 
applied - was indicated in the reply made by the Command: n1 
to a letter of 29 October 19^3 received from Senator Homer 
Ferguson of Michigan. Referring to the Marine trainees 
at Oberlin College, the CMC remarked that the men came 
"from many different colleges and, as has been generally 
the case, a number of them had difficulty with the 

• emlc program. With the help of intensive instruction 
and voluntary classes, however, the number sent to re- 
cruit training because of academic failure aggregated at 
the end of the first semester only 10 per cent of the 
total unit of about three hundred and fifty men. Thin 
attrition is not at all out of line either with figures 
available from other institutions or with what our esti- 
mates were when the men entered college." 

In its new and experimental stage, the V-12 program 
survived by adaptation to facts, as practice uncovered 
them. The original plan for trainees prescribed that a 
student take certain courses in English, mathematics, 
physics, engineering drawing, and descriptive geometry, 
unless he had completed them prior to 1 July 19' . 
College authorities indicated, however, that this re- 
quirement was impracticable for some trainees because 
of inadequate reparation in the school previous] 

nded. Therefore, lest such a ruling produce '"large 

(17) CMC ltr to Senator Homer Ferguson, Op. Cit. 


and unfair attrition, involving in many cases excellent 
officer material," college administrators emitted 
to make exceptions to the requirement "in appropriate 

cases" - but to keep such exceptions "to the minimum 

] ! 

As the program began to function, it was soon pro- 
ducing officer material beyond the existing needs of the 
Marine Corp,-:-. Headquarters had planned that, beginnin : 
in January 1944, the officer output from OCC should be 
approximately 300 a month. About 250 of these would be 
products of the College Training Program. However, by 
the middle of the first V-12 semester, it was estimated 
that about 2,400 men would complete their allotted college 
training on 1 November 1943. Out of this group was to 
come officer material "for the succeeding four months 
until additional numbers complete their college training." 

Now plagued by the excess - since attrition could 
hardly reduce 2,400 to 1,000 - Headquarters proposed to 
draw not more than 1,600 men from college on 1 November 
and leave the remaining 800 in school for another semester 
of 16 weeks. The plan was approved by the Navy. 

(18) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10Aug43, 1520-30-60. 


The men chosen to remain on the campus would be 
preferably those who had completed seven semesters by 

1 November, and it was recommended that, in general, 

younger trainees be kept in college. 

By 1 March 1944 approximately 3,425 men would 
"according to plan" complete their college training, 
but attrition of six per cent - academic and otherwise - 
was expected to downgrade the number to about 3,200. 

Taking into account the planned capacity at Quantico, 
it was considered that certainly not more than 1,600 men 
should be sent to Parris Island on 1 March. Any above 
that number would not have "a reasonable chance of 
eventual commission." In January 1944, the Chief of 
Naval Personnel, therefore, aga.'n approved a holding 
over of certain Marin:;- trainees for an additional term, 
and he now accepted a figure of 1,620, twice as many 
students as had previously been retained. 

While approving the new number, however, he sug- 
gested that inasmuch as there was an urgent need for 
reserve midshipman candidates, any of these excess Marine 
trainees who met the requirements should be permitted to 
volunteer for transfer to the Navy officer candidate 
program. He agreed, in return, that if ever the supply 

(19) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 28Sep43, 1520-30-60. Op Diary, 
Div of Reserve, 7Dec4l-Uul47, HistBr, HQMC. M-5 Op 
Diary, 27Mar44-6May45, HistBr, HQMC. Dir P&P memo to 
CMC, 17Jan44, 1520-30-60. 


of officer candidates for the Marine Corps Reserve fell 
below existing needs, Navy V-12 students woudl be per- 
mitted to volunteer for Marine Corps training, "as 
contemplated in the original plan for the V-12 Program." 

As a result of the Navy suggestion, the Commandant 
and the Chief of Naval Personnel announced jointly on 
9 February 1944 that Marine trainees to be retained at 
college for an additional semester beginning 1 March 
would be discharged from the Marine Corps "on their volun- 
tary application if accepted for enlistment as Apprentice 
Seaman, USNR, for further assignment to Reserve Midshipmen's 

The upshot of the agreement was that 613 Marine 
trainees were separated to enter the Navy. Where a man 
failed to make the grade in midshipman training he would 
be retained in the Navy in an enlisted status. He could, 
however, apply for reenlistment in the Marine Corps and, 
if acceptable, would be discharged from the Navy. 

The entire arrangement illustrated a special signifi- 
cance of the V-12 program. It wa believed by ooth th 
Commandant and the Chief of Naval Personnel that the 
"close association" of Marine and Navy trainees was making 
th n appreciative of 'the eye;? Increasing liaison between 
onent branches of the Navy which has been .f fee ted by 
bhc conditions of modern warfare. 

( ! ) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 17Jan44. 1 520-30-60. Chief of 
Naval Personnel ltr to CMC. 3Uan44, 1520-30-60. CMC and 
Chief of Naval Personnel of Navy V-12 Unit:; 

having Marine Detachemntc, 9Feb44, 1 520-30-60. 


In making up the quota of 1,600 men to be transferred 
to Parris Island for recruit training, the policy was to 
take all trainees who had already been at college for an 
additional semester, plus all technical students who had 
completed eight semesters , and all basic students who had 
finished seven semesters. If it were n :Cessary to take 

any trainees who had concluded not more than six terms, 

only the oldest men would be selected. 

Reduction of the Program 

From the outset , bhe Cu^ege Training Program had 

been self -liquidating and designedly so. As men came 

to the end of their allotted time on the campus there 

were no replacements, except for the small quota drawn 

regularly from the ranks and a scattered few individuals. 

Therefore, as Marine y-12 enrollment would drop to an 

estimated 6,490 by 1 March 1944, it wa;; decided at HQMC 

in January of that year to discontinue on 1 March the 

Marine Detachments at the six colleges listed below: 

Emory University, Emory University, Georgia 

Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi 

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 

Gustavus ^dolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota 

North Texas Agricultural College, Arlington, Texas 

Arizona State Teachers College, Flagstaff, Arizona. 

(21) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 17Jan44, 1520-30-60. 


The numbers enrolled at each college was the decisive 
factor in determining which detachment should be deactivated. 
In transferring the remaining trainees from the six colleges 
listed above, the main consideration was geographic. The 
men were moved to schools nearer Parris lalr.nd, where they 
would later receive their recruit training. 

A further curtailment of the Marine College Training 
Program was contemplated in January for 1 July 1944, but 
certain factors weighed against any further reduction of 
Marine college units. It was realized, first, that the 
changeful war picture might generate requirements for ad- 
ditional officer personnel; second, that retention of at 
least the smaller colleges accorded with one inherent 
jective of the V-12 program, i.e. , to save the little 
institutions; and, third, that dropping of additional 

schools would create "unfavorable public relations for 

the Marine Corps." 

Yet the sheer fact of a dwindling enrollment made a 
second reduction the only practical course. After a Head- 
quarters estimate in April 1944 that there would be only 
about 1,933 men left in Marine Detachments at colleges 
after 1 November, the Commandant approved a decrease of 
units from 34 to 14. 

(22) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 7Jan44, 1520-30-60. Dir P&P 
memo to CMC, l8Jan44, 1520-30-60. 


Assignment of enlisted selectees to the campus 
would, however, continue just as before. In the same 
month that he approved the reduction of college units , 
th • Commandant authorized a new quota or 1,000 enlisted 
personnel in three aoproximateiy eaual increments to 
enter the College Training Program - on 1 July 1944, 
1 November 1044, and 1 March .'• '';. 

It had been concluded at Headquarters that future 
V-12 trainees could well originate among enlisted men of 
the Marine Corps, inasmuch as tudents graduating from 
high school before the age of 18 could now enlist in the 
Corps, and many of them possessed creditable high school 
records. It had been observed, moreover, that the caliber 
of men selected by the CO's for this training was steadily 
improving. ' 

The enlisted quota for 1 July was set at 244 men, 
exclusive of those chosen by HQMC from at large, but no 
man who was receiving training in any advanced specialist 
school could be assigned. 

(':'■) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10Apr44, 1520-30-60, CMC Itr 
to CG Came Lejeune, enclosing Ltr of Instr 763 (advance 
copy). 24Jun44, 1520-30-120. Dir P&P memo to CMC, 
l8Jan44, 1520-30-60. Dir P&P memo to CMC, 21Jan44 , 

(24) Ltr of Instr 650, 2Feb44, 1520-30-60. 


lng Beyond the War 

Speculation on postwar nc-:6.> figuered in the piano 
for men who entered V-12 training on and after 1 March 
1944, Considering that the college study would be fol- 
lowed by four months at Platoon Commanders ' School and 
presumably two months of "leave and in transit," an en- 
listed trainee starting at a college on 1 March 1944 
would not normally be available for duty in the field 
until late 1946 or early 1947. Since it was then antici- 
pated that the war would end before 1947 , a new view was 
taken of those applicants who would enter V-12 on 1 March 
or after. The Commandant ordered that entrance be limited 
now to those men who would likely qualify for commission 
in the regular Marine Corps after the war. 

It was hoped to extend the college program so that 
these trainees could go on to receive degrees, thus be- 
coming the principal source of regular Plarine officer, 
for up to four years after the war. Such a plan, it wan 
expected, would yield a maximum of 500 prospects, from 
which an estimated annual requirement of 400 (less those 
filled by Naval Academy graduates and from the ranks) 
could be selected. ^ 

New Demands on t he V - 12 

By the summer of 1944 the decisive Marine assaults 
in the Marianas revitalized the contracting pattern of 

(25) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 22Feb44, 1520-30-60. 


the V-12. The stepped-up tempo of the thrust across the 
Pacific - and the casualties involved -- "brought imperative 
demands for more junior officers. Three hundred additional 
Marine trainees were taken from the colleges on 1 July, 
an increment of 1,900 instead of 1,600 as planned. And 
for 1 November, the intake was upped to 2,125, dropping 
the previous figure of 1,800. Moreover, the Commandant 
now approved that the number of enlisted men to be sent 
to colleges an 1 November 194 J and 1 March 1945 should 
be expanded from the original figure of 333 to as many as 
500 men. 

It was re-emphasized - and as being of "extreme 
importance" - that all men who were welected for the 
College Training Program "shall possess outstanding 
potential officer-like qualities." Stress was also laid 
upon evaluating academic promise, to minimi::;; the 
waste by campus attrition. 

There continued to be man- applicants from the 
ranks. Thii fact was related to authorization for fiscal 
1946 of three Increments up to 600 each - for 1 July 19^5, 
1 November 1945 , and 1 March i9 u o. 

To spare a trainee from loss of grade if, 'for any 
reason," he were dropped from the program ;; nrior to 

(26) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 27Jul44, 1520- >.~60. Ltr of 
Instr 805, 22Jul44, 1520-30-60. ' 

commissioning, " the Commandant ordered that the man be 
restored to the grade held before entering training. 
This ruling also applied to men transferred to a Naval 
Hospital for prolonged treatment necessitating sepa- 
ration from the College Training Program. 

To reduce further separations because of academic 
difficulties, the Commandant directed in June 19^5 that 
all applicants must have had no less than two years of 

algebra, geometry, or trigonometry, besides being a high 

school graduate with a creditable rating. This re- 
quirement was also in line with the new objective of 
drawing postwar officer material from the College Train- 
ing Program. 

Even as late as the summer of 19^5 the Marine Corps 
continued to interview prospects for V-12 training among 
"scholastically qualified" students, as well as among 
enlisted men. But because the Navy no longer looked to 
the schools as sources of officer material the impression 
became current that the Marine Corps was following suit. 
This misunderstanding existed even in some Navy Procurement 
Offices where Marine Corps requests to obtain certain 
qualified individuals for the Marine College Training 
Program were declined. 

(27) Dir P&P memo to CMC, Uan45, 1520-30-60. CMC ltr 
to CG PI; CG Camp Lejeune; CMCS; and OIC Marine Dets, 
Navy V-12 Units, 4May45, 1975-65 MCS. Ltr of Instr 1035, 
2Jun45, 1520-30-60. 


To clarify the matter, the Commandant wrote to the 
Joint Army-Navy Personnel Board, recommending a letter 
to Navy Procurement, correcting the erroneous impression, 
"in order that future requests for qualified candidates 
for Marine Corps V-12 will be honored." 

The CMC stated that "the Marine Corps continues to 
obtain its officer material from qualified Junior edu- 
cational institutions, as well as from its services at 
large." 28 

In a draft of postwar plans, at the end of August 
19^5, Headquarters regarded that a regular officer should 
be less than 27 years old when commissioned. Such a view 
had been indicated in June when the Commandant ordered 
that applicants for the College Training Program should 
be less than 23 years old on the day of submitting the 
application. * 

Closing the Program 

The sudden end of the war in August 19^5 did not 
have a shattering effect upon the College Training 
Program. It had long been tapering in size, and output 
plans were already slanted to postwar policy. Increments 
after the original intake on 1 July 19^3 had been com- 
paratively small. Both the number of Marine Detachments 

(28) OIC Procurement Div, Personnel, memo to Assistant 
Dir of Personnel, 20Jul45, 1520-30-60. CMC ltr to Joint 
Array -Navy Personnel Board, 3Uul45, 1520-30-60. 

(29) Ltr of Instr 1035, 2Jun45, 1520-30-60. BriGen 
0. C. Thomas memo to CMC, 20Aug45, 1520-30-60. 


and the number of students had dropped off - from 40 col- 
leges to 13 and from 11,460 men to the fraction of 1,902 
in August 19^5. 

The entire V-12 program v/as, from the beginning, a 
temporary project, to be cancelled not later than the 
duration plus six months. Although the Marine Corps 
faced the problem of disposition of 4,000 men - considered, 
by V-J Day, as officer candidates - it was still considered 
desirable that the 1,902 men then in college should com- 
plete their academic assignments, preferably finishing up 
eight semesters. It was supposed that the immediate 
postwar period would produce few other college graduate?.. 

Plans were now being made by the Navy to transfer 
its own V-12 trainees to the Naval R0TC program beginning 
1 November 1945. Moreover, a Naval ROTC student would 
stay in college until he completed the normal eight 
semesters required for a degree. 

In the Marine Corps, logic pointed to continued as- 
sociation with the Navy's college program. On 23 August 
1945, the Commandant requested transfer of the Marine V-12 
program, "as now organized," into the NROTC effective 1 
March 1946. This was approved by the Secretary of the 
Navy, except that he moved the date forward to 1 July 

It was hoped that any qualified Marine trainee who 
wished to do so could become part of a Marine unit of 
the NROTC and remain at college until he completed his 


eight semesters, but no further Marine personnel would 
be assigned to either the V-12 or the NROTC. Marine 
participation in the NROTC was originally contemplated, 
therefore, as only temporary, and Marine units would 
continue as separate entities on the campuses. 

As for those t es of August 19^5 who did not 
wish to stay at college, a return to normal enlisted 
status would be effected before the next semester which 
was scheduled to start on 1 November 19 

The process of transfer of Marine students into the 
NROTC set-up would become simplified by the fact that 

there were already NROTC units at all but three of the 

colleges where Marine V-12 units were located. 

As events turned out, however, a Marine V-12 merger 

into the NROTC never occurred, for, as we shall see, the 

entire V-12, includi*^ the Marine Corps section, ceased 

to exist on 1 July 19^6 . Still, it was planned that a 

Marine trainee individually could transfer to an NROTC 

unit, where he would have to complete the required NROTC 

curriculum before graduation from college, including the 

usual courses in Naval Science and Tactics . 

(30) BriGen G C Thomas memo to CMC, 20Aug45* 1520-30-60, 
CMC memo to SecNav, 23Aug45, 1520-30-60 BuPers, College 
Training, 26. 

(31) Dir of Personnel memo to CMC, 6Feb45, 1520-30-60. 

In . bhe Commandant advised all 

Officers-in-Charge of Marino V-12 units that there would 
be no further increments of enlisted Marines entering 
the College Training Program - thus diverting the group 
;;hich had been slated to begin on 1 November. No Marine 
trainee would be transferred from college to officer 
training at the end of the semester then in progress. 
Any trainee could request withdrawal from college and 
transfer to general duty in the Marine Corps. Actually, 
only one Marine trainee was due to complete eight se- 
mesters of college work by 1 November, but future classes 
were expected to yield "a considerable number" of candi- 
dates for commission. 

The Commandant indicated in his memorandum that 
without further legislation and appropriations the College 
Training Program could not be continued beyond 1 March 
19^6, and he saw the NROTC as a solution to the problem 
of extending training after the closing date. As indi- 
cated above, the Secretary of the Navy was, in fact, 
agreeable to such a solution. 

For the present, plans had to be made for dispo- 
sition of Marine trainees at the end of the V-12 program. 
In December 1945 the Commandant directed that eight - 
semester graduates on 1 March 1946 who were interested 

(32) CMC memo to OIC's Marine Dets, Navy V-12 Unit 
5Sep45, 1520-30-60. Dir of Personnel memo to CMC, 
0Dec45, 1520-30-60. 


in a regular commission and could qualify would be com- 
missioned in the Marine Corps Reserve and assigned to 
the 2d Class, Basic School. Those not interested in a 
regular commission could elect to receive a reserve com- 
mission and go to inactive status, or to active duty if 
they agreed to remain for at least six months. Those 
not interested in a regular or a reserve commission 
would be returned to general duty as enlisted men. 

Undergraduates eligible for the NROTC were to be 
discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve for enlistment 
in the Naval Reserve. Those undergraduates not eligible 
for the NROTC would be returned to general duty unless 
eligible for discharge under current directives. 

Although it had been expected that the V-12 program 
would have to fold up about 1 March 19^6, Congress gave 
it a new, if brief, lease on life - voting to keep the 
program, as it stood, until 1 July 19^6. 

And May 1946 saw a modifying of Marine Corps policy 
regarding disposition of trainees at the now definite 
closing date. Under the revised policy, graduates would 
be discharged or appointed to commissioned rank in the 
Marine Corps Reserve and assigned to active duty or in- 
active status, whichever they preferred. Undergraduates 
qualified for enrollment in the NROTC would be discharged 
or transferred to general duty, as they wished. Trainees 
not qualified to enroll in the NROTC would be returned 


to general duty, unless eligible for discharge under the 

general discharge policy. -' 

The final wind-up of the College Training Program 

was presaged on 12 April 1946 when the Commandant addressed 

a letter to the Off icers-in-Charge of all Marine V-12 

units. It ordered disbanding of all the remaining Marine 

Detachments at the conclusion of the "semester, term, or 

quarter current on 15 May 1946." 

So ended what had been a new experience in Marine 

Corps history. Yet it was perhaps, more correctly, a new 

expression of a Marine Corps viewpoint - that, in the main, 

leadership flowers best when "firmed up" by knowledge. 

(33) Dir of Personnel memo to CMC, 6Feb46, 1520-30-60, 
Op Diary, Div of Reserve, 7Dec4l-lJul47, HistBr, HQMC. 

(34) CMC ltr to OIC's Marine Dets, Navy V-12 Units, 
12Apr46, 1520-30-60. 



Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 

Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania 

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 

Colgate University, Hamilton, New York 

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

Georgia School of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 

Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana 

Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas 

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 

Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado 

Until 1 March 1944 ; 
Emory University, Emory University, Georgia 
Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi 
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota 
North Texas Agricultural College, Arlington, Texas 
Arizona State Teachers College, Flagstaff, Arizona 

(35) List compiled from Op Diary, Div of Reserve, 
7Dec4l-lJul47, HistBr, HQMC. 


Until 1 November 1944 ; 

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 

Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State 
University), State College, Pennsylvania 

Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 

Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 

Western Michigan College of Education, Kalamazoo, 

Denison University, Granville, Ohio 

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 

Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College, Monticello, 

Southwestern Louisiana Institute, Lafayette, Louisiana 

Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, Ruston, Louisiana 

University of Redlands, Redlands, California 

Occidental College, Los Angeles, California 

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 

College of the Pacific, Stockton, California 

Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania 



Adjustment is a part of life, especially of the 
soldier's life. The demands of warfare produce, 
inventiveness - "firsts" in medicine, mechanics, and 
in almost all fields of human thought and action. 

Among these "firsts" within the Marine Corps during 
World War II was a program of officer indoctrination, 
designed chiefly for specialists commissioned or re-com- 
missioned from civil life. 

The reception and training of a large number of 
these men constituted a certain modification of Marine 
Corps philosophy. In a war which would demand far more 
and varied personnel and implements than ever before, 
the Corps could no longer afford the luxury of its 
historic concept: that a line command was the final 
objective of all officer training. War was now requiring 
more and more civilian specialists, whether at home or in 

Yet the new officer indoctrination never lost the 
theme of "combat readiness" - a primary purpose of the 
Corps. At least one of the officer-students still felt 
that the curriculum was built upon "the old assumption 
of the Marine Corps that every officer in the Marine 
Corps is a line officer and competent to handle troops." 

(l) Capt Philips D. Carleton memo to LtCol J. R. Moe, 
24May43, 1520-30-120. 


Certainly the term : non-combatant," long unfamiliar, 
never became a part of the Marine lexicon. 

Specialist in Uniform 

The need to emphasize officer indoctrination became 
plain in 1942, with the rapid influx of men commissioned 
directly from civil life. Apart from the officer candi- 
date program, there was an imperative immediate need for 
officers. As a result, the Marine Corps "resorted to a 
vastly increased granting of direct commissions. Included 
among the recipients were ... former officers of all serv- 
ices recalled to fill administrative posts, and civilian 
specialists commissioned for technical duties. So ex- 
tensive was the practice that, out of a total of 5,6l8 
officers entering in 1942... specialists accounted for 
1,408. " 2 

Class V, Specialist Volunteer Marine Corps Reserve, 
was created in March 1942. The purpose was "to provide 
for the appointment or enlistment in the Marine Corps 
Reserve of officers and men who possess special qualifi- 
cations which may be utilized in the Marine Corps in time 
of war or national emergency, but who, due to physical 
defects, age, or lack of training, are not qualified for 
general service." They were to be "commissioned or 
appointed for specialist duties only." 3 Procurement of 

(2) Kenneth W.Condit, "Marine Corps Administration in 
World War II,* (MS, HistBr, HQMC), 39-40. 

(3) Marine Corps Manual , 1940, reprinted 1944, 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1944). 


officers for specialist service was then authorized by 
Circular Letter 573 in April 19^2. 

Besides permitting acceptance of specialists who 
possessed no prior military service into Class V, this 
authority also provided for commissioning for general 
duty of former officers of the military services, in- 
cluding the reserves, and ROTC graduates into Class III, 
the unorganized Marine Corps Reserve. 

These Class III officers were not specialists, such 
as those of Class V. Instead, they were commissioned to 
perform garrison duty at posts mainly in the United States, 
relieving younger trained men for service in the field. 
There was no express prohibition of service overseas for 
either Class V or Class III, and a number of officers of 
both groups served in combat areas. 

It was to be expected that most of the Class III 
officers, as well as the Class V specialists, would need 
indoctrination or, at least, a familiarization with the 
Marine Corps. 

No limiting quotas were fixed in the Spring of 19^2 
on the commissioning of these men, but in September the 

Commandant authorized procurement of not to exceed 1,000 

specialists, Class V officers, exclusive of Aviation. 

"Boot camps for specialist officers" became the 

generally accepted title for the schools of indoctrination 

(•';) Op Diary, Div of Reserve, 7Dec4l-Uul47, HistBr, HQMC, 

('; ) Ibid . 


for these individuals commissioned directly from civil 
life. These trainees, however, were definitely not the 
youngsters of the usual boot camp. On the contrary, 
they were mature "lawyers, engineers, bankers, editors, 
mechanics, business men - even morticians." 

Their military backgrounds were hardly less varied 
than their civil experiences. "The ink is not yet dry 
on the commissions of some of them, " reported the Marine 
Corps Gazette . "Others have been on active duty for six 
months or more. Still others are 'retreads' from World 
War I." Practically all they now shared in common was 
the fact that they were Marine officers - "ranging in 


rank from gunner to captain, with an occasional major." 
But they all stood ready to learn or relearn, to get 
conditioning or reconditioning. Their needs were Indi- 
vidual and quite varied - a fact bound to complicate 

Early Indoctrinatio n at Quant ico 

As Class V officers began to arrive at Quant ico, in 
considerable numbers, during the spring of 1942, the 

(o) Capt A. L. Wimer and Lt C. P. Morehouse, "Specialist 
Officers Learn to be Marines First." MC Gazette, August 

(7) At an indoctrination course at Lejeune in the spring 
of 1943 only 20 to 30 per cent of the officers possessc< 
previous military experience. Capt Philips D. Carleton 
memo to LtCol J. R. Moe, Op. Cit. 

(8) Wimer and Morehouse, 0p_. Cit 


Marine Corps was curiously confronted with officers 
variously devoid of military knowledge. 

"Aviation ground specialists were the first to re- 
port for active duty. A few of these officers were en- 
rolled in the regular ROC course. Because of their age 
and lack of basic military training, they made very poor 
records; so a special 10-week indoctrination course was 
organized in May 19^2 using the barracks and class rooms 
of the ROC. The curriculum consisted of selected lec- 
tures and exercises of the ROC plus new courses empha- 


sizing staff work and aviation subjects. 1 

Besides the Class V newcomers, there were a number 
of Class III officers appearing at Quantico in 19^2. 
Many of the latter, commissioned for general duty, were 
former regular or reserve officers recommissioned, but 
there was also a considerable proportion of ROTC graduates 
- a fact due partly to Army policy of refusing to recom- 
mission any reserve officer who had previously resigned. 
This practice redounded to the benefit of the Marine 
Corps, which received some excellent material from the 
ROTC. 10 

For these new men, arriving daily at Quantico, there 
was as yet no indoctrination schedule specifically designed 

(9) Condit, Op. Cit . , 6l. 

(10) Interview LtCol Frank 0. Hough, lMay56, 


and adapted to their needs. Meanwhile, the need for a 
suitable and inclusive program of indoctrination was be- 
coming constantly more plain. In late August 19^2, some 
60 officers were pro cent in the Officers Pool at the 
Training Center. A few had reported only two days before, 
while others had been around as long as six weeks. 

On 28 August the CO of the Training Center reported 
that "since the transfer of the three Training Center 
schools, there are insufficient officer-instructors avail- 
able to carry on a satisfactory course" of indoctrination. 

Indoctrination attempts at Quantico were considerably 
hamstrung by the fact, as the CO explained, that "officers 
report and depart continuously as individual casuals." 
He "urgently requested and strongly recommended as an 
immediate Corps policy that appointed reserve officers 
scheduled for indoctrination at the Training Center... be 
activated in time to report as a group only, at two-week 
intervals on Mondays at 0800 of the reporting week." 

There was a note of exasperation, as well as urgency, 
in the CO's message. 

One result of the chaotic situation had been an undue 
bewilderment among the new men. "Under the casual method," 

the CO stated, "serious conditions among the indoctrinee 

officers have existed." He did not elaborate. 

(11) CO TC MB Quantico Itr to CMC, 28 Aug*-! 2, 1*520-30-120. 

(12) CO TC MB Quantico Itr-to.CMC, 21Sep42, 1520-30-120. 


That the state of indoctrination left much to be 
desired is confirmed by recollections of an officer who 
reported at Quantico in September 1942. He found the 
situation "extremely haphazard" and recalls that "about 
the only consistent feature of the program was a half 
hour or so of close order drill (without arms) every 
morning. The main object seemed to be to instill a rudi- 
mentary grasp of military traditions , customs and courtesy 
so that the new officers would not appear too ill at ease 
in their uniforms. As I recall, the course lasted only 
a couple of weeks. .. .That the men under instruction 
learned anything useful is doubtful." 

Still, despite the brevity and inadequacy of in- 
doctrination at that date, a certain new pride and affec- 
tion came into the hearts of some of the men - a sense 

of belonging and "a feeling of real warmth toward the 

Marine Corps," as this officer remembers. 

Here, surely, was the highest gain that indoctri- 
nation could hope for. Yet it would not help the men to 
aim a rifle straighter nor supply that practical knowl- 
edge irreplaceable to a soldier's confidence. 

But good news rides often at the heels of doubt, 
and even while the CO at Quantico was writing of the 
indoctrination predicament a turn for the better was 

(13) Interview LtCol Frank 0. Hough, lMay56. 

(14) Ibid . 


under way. At Headquarters Marine Corps plans were 
being drafted to establish two new Indoctrination Schools, 
adequately designed and supported: one on each Coast - 
at Lejeune and at Elliott - to begin about 1 November. 
Demands from the combat areas made efficient staffing a 
problem from beginning to end, but the original hopes 
for a really good indoctrination program were high. 

Transfer of most of the Training Center activity 
from Quant ico to New River in the Fall of 1942 made 
Lejeune most suitable for the East Coast indoctrination. 
"Some instruction" along that line was already being 
offered there. 

In the West there had been an "informal school" of 
indoctrination at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego - 
mainly a series of lectures - but interruption from 

personnel changes led to dropping of the course, and 

correspondence lessons were substituted. 

Indoctrination: Lejeune an d Elliott 

Now newly commissioned and recommissioned officers 

would be sent for indoctrination to either Lejeune or 

Elliott, "as appropriate," but Aviation Specialists would 

be assigned to the Reserve Officers' Class, and Recruiting 

Specialists would continue to be sent, "as practicable," 

(15) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 28Sep42, 1520-30-120. CO Sch 
Bn FMP TC MB New River ltr to CMC, 21Nov42, 1520-30-120. 
CG, USMC Hq, Dept of Pac, San Francisco, ltr to CMC, 
l4Sep42, 1520-30-120. 


to the Marine Corps Schools at Quant ico. Officers 
scheduled to receive indoctrination at Lejeune or Elliott 
included specialists iri Quartermaster, Communications, 
Engineer, Motor Transport, and Public Relations work, 
plus General Duty. By the Commandant ' s letters of 
15 October 1942 the new and (it was hoped) better in- 
doctrination program was set in motion - to begin 
1 November, 

At Le jeune a delay was occasioned in starting the 
new course because of the dearth of qualified instructors. 
A second handicap stemmed from the lack- of certain pre- 
scribed textual material until more could be printed. 
But most "urgently needed" was the authorized staff. 

It was even necessary to make an instructor out of one 


officer who was himself being indoctrinated. 

The shortages of staff and equipment for the indoctri- 
nation Courses could not immediately be corrected, and 
proper staffing would, in fact, remair a {^rnanetit problem. 
In January 1943 the CO of the School Battalion at New 
River informed the Commandant that "experience with the 
2nd Officers' Indoctrination Course, which will end 
15 January 43 and which started with 88 students, indi- 
cates that a class of 60 students is the absolute rnaxi-* 
mum that can be handled effectively with the pre&ent 

(16) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 28Sep42, 1520-30*120. CMC Itr 
to CG TC FMP SD, 150c t42, 1520-30-120. CMC ltr to CG TC 
New River, 150c t42, 1520-30-120. 

(17) CO Sch Bn, FMP TC MB New River ltr to CMC, 0p_. Cit. 


staff and equipment. For a larger number of students per 
month, a block system with Increased facilities and ad- 
ditional instructors should be instituted. Student offi- 
cers awaiting formation of the Third Indoctrination Course 
now number 64, and, by the time the course can be started 
with the limited teaching staff, may well exceed 70." 

But at HQHC it was seen as "not practicable at this 
time to increase the staff or facilities at either New 
River or San Diego." It was suggested that classes be 
limited to 60 each and not over 75 , and that the classes 
at New River and San Diego be equalized "as far as 
practicable." Headquarters indicated that priority of 
assignment should be given to Communications, Procurement, 

1 Pi 

Ordnance, and Japanese Language officers. 

As the schedules were evolved, the course at Camp 
Lejeune was of five weeks length, while that at Camp 
Elliott was set at a month. The programs were not identi- 
cal, although many of the same subjects were of course 
covered at both. See following table. 

Early in October 1943, all officer indoctrination 
was concentrated at Camp Lejeune. On 26 July, the CMC 
ordered discontinuation of the Indoctrination School at 
Elliott upon completion of the class graduating about 
1 October. At the same time he ordered extension of the 

(18) CO Sch Bn TC MB Camp Lejeune ltr to CMC, 9Jan43, 
1520-30-120. Dir P&P memo to Dir, Div of Reserve, 
29Jan43, 1520-30-120. 


Indoctrination Course at Lejeune from five to eight weeks. 

He stated that "the current limitation on procurement of 

Class V (a) Specialist Officers makes it unnecessary to 

conduct two Indoctrination Schools." ^ 

A maximum procurement of specialist officers from 

1 July to 31 December had been fixed at only 210 men. 

They were to be apportioned as follows: 

Adjutant 2 

General (A&l) 5 

Mess Management 4 

Personnel Technician 10 

Security - Guard 3 

Aviation 3 

Radar - Technical 70 

Radio Engineer 5 

Telephone Engineer 1 

Engineer 15 

Combat Intelligence 5 

Linguist (Japanese) 10 

Educator 2 

Dog Trainer 1 

Motor Transport Officer 20 
Ordnance 15 

Post Exchange Officer 3 

(19) CMC memo to CG Camp Lejeune, and CG TC Camp Elliott, 
2Jun43, 1520-30-120. CMC memo to CG FMF SDA, 26jul43, 
1520-30-120. CMC memo to CG Camp Lejeune, 26jul43, 


Postal Officer 3 

Strategic Service 15 

Commissary Officer 3 

Stevedoring - Warehousing 6 

Technical (QM) 6 

Physical Director 3 

TOTAL 210 

With extension of the Lejeune course to eight weeks, 

approximately 40 officers could be handled in each class 

- with a desired maximum of 50. 

A formal description of the course indicated its 

nature. 'The course is designed, as the name suggests, 

to indoctrinate newly commissioned officers with a sense 

of absolute duty and loyalty to the Marine Corps and to 

its purposes; to teach them discipline and courtesy; to 

familiarize them with the history of the Corps; to instruct 

them in the requirements of, and their obligation to, the 

service and in the performance of their general duties 

therein. It cannot be expected that they shall, upon 

completion of the course, be finished unit commanders; 

but our aim is that they shall be so imbued with basic 

principles as to be more readily adaptable to a stricter 

and more detailed instruction." 

(20) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 10Jul43, 1520-30-120. Dir P&P 
memo to CMC, 15Jul43, 1520-30-120. CO Infantry Bn TC 

;amp Lejeune ltr to CMC, 24Aug43, 1520-30-120. 

(21) CO Infantry Bn TC Camp Lejeune, ltr to CMC, 270ct43, 


The new eight-weeks course at Lejeune was phyrically 
more strenuous than the previous shorter courses - but 
subjectwise covered about the same material only in 
greater detail. 



Close Order Drill 
Extended Order Drill 

Interior Guard 

Custons and Courtesies 

First Aid and Field 

Blanket Rolling and 
Bunk Making 

Military Principles 

Duty Officer Watches 

Command Presence 

Service Afloat 

Methods of Training 




(1 m6nth) 

4 hours 





(5 /week;;) 

5 hours 





8 wks 



7 hours 

also Combat 



(Method of 







(l month) 



(5 weeks) 


8 wks 


at Lejeune 

Scouting and Patrolling 



■'.' 4i 



Chemical Warfare 




Weapons : 




Pistol .45 


Re i sing Gun 


M-l Rifle 






1 irlcsmanship and 
Technique of Fire 




Defense against Aircraft 


1 Combat Principles of • 
; Small Infantry Units 


lc3 and Combat 




i Land Ins Operations 








1 1 Wars 








Camouflage and 



Hikes and Tactical 




Marching and Bivouacs 







(l month) 



(5 weeks) 


8 wks 


at Lejeune 

Map Reading and 
Military Sketching 


Bayonet and Individual 


8lmm mi<± oOmm Mortars 




' Total 






Lecture Administration 
and Command 


Command and 



Naval Law 




Table of Organization 


Military Organization 


Rules of Land Warfare 







Navy Regulations j 

Marine Corps Relation 
to the Navy 




Marine Corps Organization 









(1 month) 


(5 weeks) 

8 wks 


at Lejeune 

Marine Corps Aviation 


Mont for" 
( Train i- 



.quarters , Uo S 
Marine Corps 


Devil Dog School 










Physical Drill Under 
Arms (only listed 
physical training) 



Physical Training 





Besides the above subjects, time was set aside for 
study periods, troop and inspection, and administrative 

detail, i.e., drawing equipment, Inoculations, classify 

cation, etc, 

(22) CMC memo to CG Camp Lejeune, and CG TC Camp Elliott 
2Jun'l CO Infantry Bn TC Camp Lejeune ltr 

A comparison of the eight-week course with the two 
previous courses reveals, above all, that the percentage 
of time devoted to physical training was more than 
doubled in the longer course. Other fields of instruc- 
tion remained much the same in relative time, although 
administration was accorded less emphasis in the eight- 
week course. Practically half of the work continued to 
dwell on knowledge useful in a combat area: chiefly 
proficiency in weapons. 

While parallel courses existed at Elliott and 
Lejeune, the somewhat longer one at Lejeune made possible 
certain areas of instruction not given at Elliott, in- 
cluding attention to such weapons as the Thompson SMGun, 
the BAR, the carbine, and the BMG. 23 

Learning at Lejeune "culminated in a maneuver that 
included a hike of &±x lies or so, an overnight bivouac, 
and a simulated assault landing from a mock-up the next 
day . " 

Problems of Instruction 

If there was any phase on which indoctrination 

missed fire, it was the one on which hinges the success 

of all teaching: the ability of the teacher himself. 

As expressed by one of the student-officers, "no course 


(23) See foregoing memo of 2Jun43. 

(24) Interview LtCol Prank 0. Hough, lMay56, 

(25) Ibid. 


Corps th^n "woefully short" of trained officers, outstand- 
ing ones could seldom be assigned - or kept - at teaching 

One inevitable result was that NCO's had to be called 
in as instructors, and, while some were good, others were 
handicapped by insufficient formal education, inexperience, 
or stage fright. A sergeant-ma.ior, though versed in 
Administration from long service, "was so awed at address- 
ing a class made up entirely of officers that the lectures 
frequently became incoherent =" 

A student-officer at Lejsune found the Administration 
course "slipshod," when he took it„ He reported at the 
time that "there appears to be no regular instructor for 
the course, but NCO's are assigned to give lectures as 
ext naturally does not appeal to them, 

and there was no feeling at any time that the instructor 

had any desire to impart to the class the information of 


which he was possessed," 

Replying further to the Commandant • s query as to 
student opinion of the new program, this officer stated 
that he had four) Interior Guard "difficult to absorb 
without visual and practical instruction." The training 
films impressed him as "not of sufficient immediate 

(26) Ibid . 

(27) Capt W G Wendell memo to Col J. D. Muncie, l8Nov43, 


interest/' and he recalled that "a dozen or more textbooks 
in the form of pamphlets were issued to us, but in most 
instances were not consulted," He advocated "that it 
should be possible to give out, well in advance, certain 
assigned reading ©n points not covered in lectures or 

serve to supplement what is said," and he thought that 

"more short tests" should be a practice,," 

Some of the students, however, praised the course 

unreservedly c When men from the Officer Procurement 

Office at Philadelphia returned from the indoctrination 

course at Lejeune in mid- 19^3* the Officer-in=Charge 

reported that they were "materially benefitted," that 

"the instructors are to be commended upon the skill with 

which they present their subjects," and that "the whole 

course gives every evidence of having been carefully 

planned and is ably administered . " 

Inconsistency of effect became, therefore, a mark 
of the instruction o On behalf of the teachers, it should 
be said that, whether good or poor, they all confronted 
a most heterogenous assemblage . Their charges were of 
m?xed ages and widely varied backgrounds - both military 
and civil o Thus, added to the unfixed standard of teach- 
ing was the paradox that the same lesson could be both 
too elementary and too advanced . 

(28) Ibid, 

(29) OIC, MC Officer Procurement Office, Philadelphia, 
ltr to CMC, 19Jun43, 1520=30-120. 


A case in point was the Weapons course at Lejeune. 
One student felt that insufficient time was allotted to 
enable untrained men to grasp the subject thoroughly."-* 
Yet, to another man, under a different teacher, it became 
"the only really good course. We learned - really learned 
- to field strip every infantry weapon up to and including 
the BAR and the BMGo 00 ,We also had an opportunity to f ir- 
on the range with rifle, carbine, 45 pistol, and Tommy 
gun„" But he did suspect that "this excellent instructor 

had evidently been assigned by accident, as he was trans- 

f erred elsewhere at the end of the class „ Such were 

the ups and downs of instruction, 

"How much" phys ical training? 

Physical training became a particular problem. The 
arduous nature of it, during the eight-week course, drew 
a few sighs from previously desk-bound middle -agers. One 
reason for extending the course, however, had been "to 
build up to standard the physical fitness of these offi- 
cers, most of whom have led sedentary lives, and many of 


whom are about 40 years of age„" 

One of the students expressed what was probably felt 
in their bones by a number of the older mens "The course 
is based on physical training for men of thirty-five, as 

(30) Capt W Q Wendell memo to Col J. D. Muncie, 
2e< Git, 

(31) Interview LtCol Prank 0. Hough, lMay56. 

(32) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 15Jul43, 1520-30-120. 


a consequence of which I had a rather hard time in keeping 
up. However, the officers of the school took cognizance 

of my advanced age and permitted me to forego some of the 

more strenuous exercise." 

The "indoctrinates" at Lejeune, as reported in June 

19^3* averaged around 36 years of age. Because of this, 

it was a belief of the Off icer-in-Charge of the course 

that any physical exerting "beyond the point of exhaustion" 

for these men rould "jeopardize" their health. Noting 

that, "as a whole," they have not "pursued arduous 

occupations," he wrote that "a vigorous campaign of 

physical conditioning would. . .destroy the principle for 

which they were commissioned, namely, specialist work. ^ 

The question of "how much" physical training for 
these older officers could never be patly answered. It 
became a problem complicated by the age range of the men, 
their previous habits of exercise, and, most significantly, 
by a n settled view among the egulars as to just what 
these new officers were supposed to be: merely special- 
ists , in a new order, or essentia" ly line officers, in 
the Marine Corps tradition. 

Capt W. G. Wendell memo to Col J. D. Muncie, 
pp. Cit . 

(H4) CMC memo to CG Camp Lejeune and CG Camp Elli tt, 
.;Jun43, forwarding memo from Capt Philips D. Carles on to 
LtCol J. R. Moe, 24May43. IstEnd OIC, Officers' Indoctri- 
nation Course, Camp Lejeune, to CMC, I0Jun43, 1520-30-120 

The upshot was that physical training became incon- 
sistent - either too lax or too strenuous, producing a 
clash of opinion, A conditioning hike or field problem 
would sometimes become no more than a march "a discreet 
distance" ^from campy 7 "then sitting around shooting the 
breeze for the rest of the afternoon. -* To the NCO 
leader the break may have seemed a compassionate gesture 
toward these middle-aged fellows - these new specialists, 
whose physical training even the Off icer-in-Charge was 
willing to modify and temper. 

With all the uncertainty attached to the indoctri- 
nation program - and with all the flaws - it was still 
the finding at Headquarters Marine Corps that "graduates 
of Indoctrination Schools are better prepared for Marine 
Corps service than non=s--/-v."L-.:.t-es-. n It was not the topmost 
compliment, but it was something. And in light of this 
opinion, the Commandant ordered that, unless excepted by 
himself, "all specialist officers entering the service 
who are non-graduates of an Indoctrination School be 
assigned to this course" at Lejeune, 

The class which was to commence on 13 December 1943 
became the last one. The unfolding of developments made 
advisable that "individual specialist officers thereafter 

(35) Interview LtCol Prank 0. Hough, lMay56. 

(36) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 15Jul43, 1520-30-120. 


obtained be assigned to the Reserve Officers 8 Course or 
AVS Indoctrination, "as appropriate." 

On 21 December the CMC ordered that the Officers" 
Indoctrination School at Camp Lejeune be discontinued 
"upon completion of the course by the current class, 
about 15 February 1944." He remarked that "indoctri- 
nation training has now been afforded the bulk of special- 
ist officers commissioned in the Marine Corps, " It was 
considered at Headquarters that "there should be little 
need of specialists in a leveling-off program."-^' 

Appointment of specialists did continue, but appli- 
cations now far outnumbered - more than ever before - the 
total of designations . In 1944 there were 3,623 appli- 
cations and 784 appointments s only half of the 1,408 
appointments in 1942, and well under the 911 of 1943. 

With the decrease, then, of specialist recruiting, 
the wartime Indoctrination ended . The program had, in 
its time, included lessen;: for the Marine Corps as well 
as for the students . It had pointed up some of the prob= 
lems involved when adapting a primarily combat type of 
training to the preparation of civilian specialists with 
little or no military background to meet the demands of 
warfare grown ever more scientific and complicated, 

(37) Dir P&P memo to CMC, 3Dec43, 1520-30-120. CMC ltr 
to CG Camp Lejeune, 21Dec43, 1520-30-120 . 

(38) Op Diary, Div of Reserve, 7Dec4l-Uul47, HistBr, 



Mobilization for total war imposes heavy training 
burdens upon military organizations. A great variety of 
military skills must be taught quickly to a great number 
of people . Speed and quantity are both essential, but 
they must not be achieved at the expense of quality. In 
World War II the Marine Corps was confronted with these 
problems, and, through experience, developed certain 
training techniques and procedures. In the process 
several lessons were learned. They are sumarized in the 
conclusions listed below. 

lo Eight weeks proved to be the minimum length to 
which recruit training could be cut without sacrificing 

2. There was an ever increasing emphasis on train= 
ing in weapons, physical conditioning, and other combat 
subjects at the recruit depots, with a corresponding 
decrease in training in close order drill, military 
courtesy , interior guard duty, parades and ceremonies, 
and similar garrison type subjects. 

3c Special drill instructor courses were necessary 
to assure the required numbers of qualified drill instruc- 
tors for the recruit depots. 

4. The numbers of recruits received from Selective 
Service with educational and psychiatric deff iciencies 


necessitated careful screening and the establishment of 
special courses for illiterates and slow learners. 

5. Formal command and staff schooling proved to 
be essential for the training of adequate numbers of 
staff officers and higher commanders for the greatly- 
expanded wartime Marine Corps. 

6. The Platoon Commanders 1 School, in which stu- 
dents had to master all the necessary subjects before 
receiving their commissions, proved the most satisfactory 
system for producing platoon commanders. It replaced the 
two part OCC-ROC method by which candidates received 
their commissions midway through their training. 

7. Formal training in combat principles was found 
to be desirable for all new officers, including those 
commissioned in the field. 

8. The regular recruit training cycle proved to 

be a valuable prerequisite to officer candidate instruction, 
This permitted Marine Corps Schools to concentrate on the 
teaching of the tactical and technical subjects needed by 
a jmior officer. 

9. The Marine Corps, which in the pre-war years 
had relied heavily on the schools of the other services 
and of civilian institutions, was obliged to provide most 
of its own formal school facilities before hostilities 
ended . 


10. For the proper selection of students for formal 
specialist training, it was necessary to adopt objective 
tests ox" ability and aptitude. 

11. College education proved to be a valuable pre- 
paration for the rigorous training given to officer 
candidates. "When falling enrollments threatened to 
close many colleges, thereby cutting off the supply of 
college trained candidates, the Marine Corps joined with 
the Navy in the V-12 program which was designed to keep 
the colleges open. 


This study is based primarily on the records of 
Headquarters Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Schools 
at Quantico. They include letters, memoranda, dispatches, 
staff studies, and operational diaries . Conspicuously 
missing from the documentation are analytical reports by 
officers responsible for the conduct of training. They 
are missing because they were never prepared . The student 
of the history of Marine Corps training will find nothing 
comparable to the special action reports required of 
combat organizations. An additional handicap is the lack 
of records of training activities other than Marine Corps 
Schools, Quantico. 

The official records listed below are arranged by 
military service, by organization within each service, by 
records depository within each organization, and by record 
group within each depository. Inasmuch as references to 
primary source materials in the text have been of a biblio- 
graphical nature, giving all information necessary for the 
identification of each document cited, it is not deemed 
necessary to repeat this detailed information here. The 
listing of primary sources, therefore, will be confined 
to the general record groups consulted. 


Lement tl • preliminary 

to In- ividuals who 
anj zations, 
ntSj and elaborations. 

Le Information w hered from the replies 

eived and has been incorj I in the text. These 
letters have been made a part of the record and are 
available for consultation. 

Primary : 

U* £• Marine Corjss 

Headquarters, USMCs 

MC Historical Branch Ai/chlve^ library 

Annual Reports of the Commandant to the Secretary 
of the Navy for the Fiscal Years 1939-19^1. 

Division of Plans and Policies files: 

War Plans Section - Miscellaneous Correspondence 
(by subject), 1926-1941. 

General Correspondence re Fleet Exercises, Train- 
ing, etc. (by chronology), 1921-1942. 

Estimate of the Situation file, 1936-1946. 

Administrative History i'Ue 

Operational Diary, n of Reserve, 7Dec4l- 

Operational Diary, M-3 Section, 7Dec4l-31Dec44. 

Operational Diary, M=3 Section, 2';'Mar44-6May45. 

Area Operations file 

Samoa Defense Force ning Order 6-42, 5Dec42, 
and Training Order 1-43, 2Jan43, 


3rd Mar : rn i -i* 1 ade (: ; 1 100 ) . ' j n Ino; Order 1-43 , 

5th Marine Division Special Action Report, Iwo 
Jima Operation, 19 February to 26 March 1945, 
28Apr45, Annex R (27th Marines) and Annex A 
(Administration) . 

Task Force 56 Report on FORAGER, 20c't44. End F 


Unit files 

Amphibious Corps, Atlantic Fleet, 1975 Operations 
and Training Reports. 

1st Marine Division Readiness Reports, September 
- December 194l. 

2nd Marine Division, Comments of Umpires on 
Exercises at San Clemente Island, May - June 

28th and 34th Repl Drafts, Readiness Reports 3-4, 
January 1945. 

Division of Reserve files 

Annual Reports, Marine Corps Reserve, 1939. 

Personnel Department, Procedures Analysis Branch 

Tabulation dated 17Jul45; Enlisted Specialist 

Lecture notes by Maj W. M. Ross iter 

Lecture by Capt Leslie F. Fultze to conference 
of G-l representatives, October 1949. Title: 
"Organization and Installation of Present 
Marine Corps Classification System." 

Personnel Department, Unit Diary Section 

Muster Rolls 

General Files 

The following subjects filed under the indicated 
ELSDRAN numbers, 1939=45. 



Amphibian Trac tor 






Artillery Course 


Artillery, Heavy, Light 


Artillery School 


Bayonet Instruction School 


Centers, Training 


Chemical Warfare 


Civilian College, School 




College Training 


Cooks and Bakers 




Drills-Instructions (Programs, 







Engineer School, Quantico 


Foreign School 


Fort Benning 


Letters of Instruction 




Marine Corps Schools 


Motor Transport 


Officers, Marine Corps 


Officers, Marine Corps 

(Command and Staff) 


Operations, Maneuvers, Training 


Operations, Maneuvers, Training 

- Expeditionary Forces 


Operations, Maneuvers, Training 

- Combined Forces 


Operations, Maneuvers, Training 

- Standard Operating Procedure 






Ordnance School 


Ordnance School 




Programs -Schedules 


Quotas ( Assigned-Plans ) 


Radio and Signal School 


Radio, Signal, Telephone and 


IS 75-60-20-10 

Recruit Training 




Reserves (Marine Corps) 


Reserves, Training, Regular 
Reserve Officers (Appointment, 




Signal, Signal Corps 










Specialist Schools 

Specialist Schools 

( Quartermaster ) 
Strength and Distribution 
Strength and Distribution 

( Quant ico) 
Strength and Distribution 

(Posts and Stations) 
Strength and Distribution 

(Training Center, Camp 

Strength and Distribution 

(Training Center, San 

Diego Area) 
Tables of Organization 

Tank School 
Tank and Tractor 
War College 

Marine Corps Schools, Quanticos 

The following subjects filed under the indicated 
ELSDRAN numbers, 1939-45 ; 













Basic School 

Bayonet Instruction School 


Command and Staff School 

Education, College, School 

Federal Board of Education 

Marine Corps Schools 

Officers, Marine Corps 


Platoon Commanders 1 School 

Pre-OCS School 

Training Battalion 

U. S. Army 

General Headquarters, U. S. Army files 

A46- 169/85 

Amphibious Training 
Amphibious Training 

U. So Navy 

Bureau of Personnel files 

"Monthly Status Reports, U, S Navy/' July 43 
- July 45. 


On file in His -anon, '. 

( 11 in HistBr, HQMC, unless 
ite( ) . 

:. W., .vine Corps Administration in 
II," 195 

Cc:;n, Stetson, and Fairchild, Byron, "The Framework 
of He.T.i sphere Defense."' To be published as a volume 
of The United States Army in World War II. Office 
of the Chief" cf"r::lit-;.y" History. 

Francis, IstLt Anthony, "History of the Marine Corps 
Schools," 1945. 

Jones, 2ndLt Frederick Rv, "A Training Center Chronicle," 
ust 1943. 

Jker, Joel D., ttive History of , i ine 

Jorps, :: 28 January : | i\ 3 . 

"Administrative History of Camp Lejeune, N. C., n 22Aug46. 

inistrative History, Marine Training and Rep] 
Command, Camp Pendleton. ;: Unsigned, undated. 

"Field Artillery Training Battalion." Unsigned, uncU 

"History of Marine Barracks, Parris Island, S C," 
14 August 1946. Unsigned. 

United States Naval Administration in WorI..I Wa 

"The Bureau of Personnel, Part IV, Training Activity." 
au of Personnel Library. 

"The Marine Corps." 

"The Atlantic Fleet, Amphibious Training Command. t! 
Naval History Division. 


Bartley, LtCol Whitman S., Iwo Jimas Amphibious ;?ic, 
ine Corps Historical Moi t„ Washingto 
Government Printing Office, 1 


Becker, Capt Marshall C, ' •: Train ii 

Center, :; Historical Section, Army Ground Forcer;, 
1946 . 

Breard, Cpl Harold A., "New River - Camp Lejeune is 
Corps 9 East Coast Combat College," Marine Corps 
Gazette , vol. 28, April 1944. 

Conner, Sgt Henry A., "Fire Control Training," Marine 
Corps G azette , vol. 28, September 1944. 

Crowl, Philip A., and Isely, Jeter A., The U. S. 
Marines and Amphi bious War. Princeton, NT J.: 
Princeton University Press, 1951. 

Currin, LtCol M. S., "How Staff Officers are Trained,'* 
Mari ne Corps Gazette , vol. 29, February 1945. 

Fegan, Col Joseph C, "M-Day for Reserves," Marine 
Corps Gazetjbe*, vol. 24, November 1940. 

Fine, Capt John V. A., "The College Training Program," 
M arine C orps Gazette , vol. 27, September 1943. 

Fitchet, Capt Seth M. , "Training Junior Officers - The 
Infantry Leaders 1 School at New River," Marine Corps 
Gazette , vol. 2°, Jun 1944. 

Fitzgerald, Lt Charles R., "Paratrooper Training," 
Marine Corps Gazette , vol. 27, July 1943. 

Gleason, John H., and Maloney, Martin J., "School for 
Combat," Marine Corps Gazette, vol. 27, October 1943. 

Greenfield, Kent H., Palmer, Robert R., and Wiley, 
Bell I., The United States Array in World War II: 
The Organiza tion of "Ground Combat "Troops . "Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1^4? T " 

Hough, Maj Frank 0., Tl lit on Peleliu, Marine 
Corps Historical Monograph w*asRington: Government 
Printing Office, 1950. 

Jones, 2ndLt Frederick R., "Tank Training," Marine Corps 
Gazette, vol. 28, April 1944. 

Langer, William L. , and Gleason, S. Everett, The 
Undeclared War. New York? Harper and Brothers , 
T35T. " 

Lee, Capt Leonard, "Films for Training," Marine Corps 
Gaze tte , vol. 27, November 1943. 


Inted I ! 4. Washington;! 

Matl nell, Edwin M., The United States 

: Strategic Plann Tng~Tor 
blon Warfare , ::::LfoTngtbns 3oWrhmenT"Frinting 
ClTlceTT953. ' 

McClelland, Capt F. D», "Signal Training at New River," 
Marino Corps Gazette, vol, 28, February 1944. 

McWethy, Maj D„ V., Jr., !; Platoon Commanders' School," 
Marine Corps Gazette , vol, 29, June 1945. 

Metcalf, Clyde H,, A History of the United States Marine 
Corps , New York? "G. "FT" Put nam's Sons, 1939 . 

Morehouse, C~pt Clifford P., "Amphibious Training," 
Marine Corps Gazette, vol. 28, August 1944. 

Morison, Samuel E., History of United States Naval 
O perations in WorlTl/ar ITT' vol. I, The gajFEle of 
the Atlantic; and voT". "lit, Rising SunT In~£ne ~FacIf ic . 
Bostons Little, Brown and Company ,~T^47~ancT"19 4 « . 

Palmer, Robert R., Wiley, Bell I., and Keast, William R., 
The United S tates Army in World War li t The Procurement 
ancT Training oTHBroum Combat Troops . Washington; 
Government Pr intlng Office, 19TRT, 

Sherwood, Robert E., Roosev elt and Hopkins , an Inti: 
History . New York? Harper ancT Brothers, T54FI 

Smith, Gen Holland M., "The Development of Amphibious 
Tactics in the U. S. Navy," Marine Corps Gazette , 
vols. 30-31, July 1946 - JanuaryTWT ~~ " 

Stavers, Lt Stephen, "Individual Combat Training," 
Marine Corps Gazette, vol. 27, March- April 19^3. 

"The Marine Corps Schools," | re . 'ed by the Staff at 
Quantico. Marine Corps G azette , vol. 27, May- June 
1943. — — _ 

Tuttle, George P., and Turner, Cornelius P., A Guide 
to the Evaluation of E ducational Experience in~tKe 
Armed Services . Washington! American CouncTI on 
Education, 1954 . 

U. S. Marine Corps Manual of Military Occupational 

Specialties . ""MsHIhgtonl Government PrTnTIng~15ff ice, 


u. S. Navy, Fleet Training Pul lication ■• 167: 

Landing Operations Doctrin e , U nited States Navy , 

Upshaw, Maj IrvinP., "Training . : Marine Instructors/ 1 

Marine C orps Gazette, vol. 29, February 19'' 5. 

Wimer, Capt A. L., and Morehouse, Lt C. P., "Special:'; b 
Officers Learn to be Marines First," Marine Corp s 
Gazette, vol. 27, August 19 ; G. 

Young, Lt J. D., "Marine Corps Signal Training," 
Marine Corps Gazette, vol. 27, September 19^3. 



Headquarters, Marine Corps 15 

Military Secretary to CMC (l) 

Secretary to the General Staff (l) 

Legislative Assistant to CMC (l) 

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (1) 
Plans Branch (l) 

Operations and Training Branch (l) 
Historical Branch (Archives) (3) 

Inspector General (l) 

Division of Reserve (l) 

Division of Information (1) 

Policy Analysis Division (l) 

Director of Women Marines (1) 

Personnel Department (1) 

CG, MCB, Camp Lejeune 2 

CG, MCB, Camp Pendleton 2 

CG, FMFLant 2 

CG, 2d Marine Division 2 

CG, FMFPac 2 

CG, 1st Marine Division 2 

CG, 3d Marine Division 2 

Commandant, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico 10 

Director, Marine Corps Institute, MB, 

Washington, D.C 2 

CG, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, 

South Carolina 2 


CG, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, 

CG, Landing Force Training Unit, Amphibious 

Training Command, Atlantic Fleet 2 

CG, Landing Force Training Unit, Amphibious 

Training Command, Pacific Fleet 2 

Army Library, Rm 1A522, Pentagon (2) 

Navy Department Library, Rm 124l, Main Navy (2) 

Air University, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama (2) 

National War College, Washington, D. C. (2) 

Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 
Washington, D. C. (2) 

Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia (2) 

Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (2) 

Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island (2) 

Command and General Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, 
Kansas (2) 

Director of Naval History (Op-29) (2) 

Air Force History, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, 
Alabama (2) 

Office of the Chief of Military History, DeptArmy (2) 

U. S. Naval Academy (l) 

U. S. Military Academy (l) 

U, S. Air Force Academy (l) 

TOTAL ....... 76 


FOR FLEX 6, PROBLEM NO. 1, 20-23 FEB 19^0 








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FLEX- 6 

4.7 MARCH 1940